Well, my summer fun ends today. Back to school. Actually it won’t be bad; I’m taking an interesting course about mathematical physiology that, although completely unrelated to my research, seems kind of fun. But with two blogs, classes, research, and marathon training, I’ll be mad busy. Let’s just hope that baby doesn’t decide to come six months early!
Very strangely, I’ve had a craving for tofu lately. I say “strangely” because I’m not really a big fan of tofu. If tofu were on Twitter, I wouldn’t even follow it. And isn’t it a little early for the pregnancy cravings to start? Perhaps a better question, aren’t they supposed to happen to the pregnant person!?
In a continuation of our Ali-like return the kitchen, Erin and I made a tofu curry recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers. Everything we’ve made from this book has been excellent, but a lot of the recipes are time-consuming and very involved. We found what might be the lone quick recipe in the book last night and decided to give it a try.
This was the most success I’ve ever had cooking tofu at home. I think the secret was that I really did a good job of drying it: I cut the blocks into two thin slabs and stacked them two by two, layered lots of paper towels on the bottom, on the top, and in between. Wasteful, but we recycle, so it’s all good. And then I put my heaviest frying pan on top with a few plates in it to make it even heavier, and let everything sit for half an hour. The tofu crisped up so nicely after that!
The recipe in the book is vague so the reader can jazz it up the way he or she likes. When I first started cooking, I hated when recipes did this; now I kind of like it. It turned out pretty well, maybe a little bland though. Here’s my version, with some ingredients added and proportions changed. Still wish I could make basmati rice the way they do at Indian restaurants. Mine always comes out so sticky. Ideas, chefs?
Ingredients (for 5-6 servings)
- A few Tbsps peanut oil
- 1 pint red/yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cartons extra-firm organic tofu, drained and dried as above, then cubed
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 can coconut milk or 2 cans lite coconut milk, depending on whether you want liquidy sauce
- 1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
- Soy sauce, to taste
- Handful of chopped basil
- Handful of chopped mint
- Kosher salt
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once it’s shimmering, add the tomatoes; and quickly stir-fry them until they are crisp-tender (should only take a minute or two), sprinkling with a little salt. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet, add a teaspoon or two of the oil to just coat the pan, and set it over medium-high heat. Add about half of the tofu cubes and let them cook without moving them for a few minutes. When one side is golden or light-brown, turn the cubes so that another side is face-down. Repeat until all (let’s be realistic, most) of the sides are golden. Sprinkle with some salt, move to a plate, and repeat with the rest of the tofu (you’ll need to add more oil to the pan).
Add a Tbsp of oil to the now-empty pan then toss in the onions and let them lightly brown for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk and the curry paste to the pan and whisk to combine. Let it thicken just a bit, then add the tofu for a minute or two to warm it up. Add soy sauce to taste, and more curry paste if you like it hot.
Finally, add the basil, mint, and tomatoes. Serve over rice or noodles.