27 June 2007
Tofu = delicious
I often do not know what to do with tofu, which is unfortunate since it is totally cheap, vegetarian, and filling all at the same time. Mostly this is because preparing tofu well is difficult. Freeze press stomp cube! et al. Then you have to know/figure out what to do with the prep and spicings of a culture you did not even remotely grow up with, especially if you are Me: White Girl From the Midwest. I mean, you would perhaps not know it to read these entries, but a normal dinner at my house was almost always meat plus 3 vegetables, whether frozen, starchy or salad. Can you imagine making that many individual dishes for one meal? I suppose that's why the advent of frozen junk and the microwave adventified.
I've definitely done lots of tofu experiments. I now know to always press my tofu, for instance, though it seems like I would get better results with a real press lined with cheesecloth instead of two cutting boards weighted with a pot of water. I know how to crispify my tofu via dry-fry. I know how to spice.
This means I can now do things like "take the spices from one thing I made once and try them with tofu." It was a good idea.
I got the spicing here from a Pakistani curry recipe. That link doesn't match where I found it, but it's the exact same recipe with same title and measurements, and my printout has a specific reference to that blog as well, so there you go. I remember first making this to the letter several years ago, and being very excited that the aroma of the spicing exactly matched the aroma of the perfect in every way tandoori swordfish at Shalimar in Ann Arbor. I worship the tandoori swordfish. Clearly, this is a good set of spices to apply to anything whatever. Perhaps tofu would be an idea!
I didn't have any yogurt, as required in original as well as tandoori versions, but clearly the spices were still good. I would totally add yogurt to this in future, however.
Curry tofu business
extra-firm tofu, pressed
small eggplant of the Italian or Asian variety
coriander, cumin, turmeric
rice over which to serve
Pressing tofu is easy. Cut it into wide layers about a centimeter thick, put it between two cutting boards, put the whole business in the sink, and stick something heavy on top. I use the aforementioned pot of water. Leave it there for at least a half hour, preferably more, and let the weight of the pot compress the tofu and squeeze out the extra water.
When you're ready for main prep, put rice on and remove tofu from the press. Get out a big sauté pan and warm some olive oil. Smash and chop garlic; peel and chop ginger. Use as much as you like. Stick those in the warmed oil with a good huge shake of coriander plus smaller shakes of cumin and turmeric. Let them soften and aromaticize while you cube the tofu.
Add the tofu to the pan; stir to distribute spices; dice up the eggplant.
When tofu has browned a little on its first side, add eggplant. Stir to distribute spices; turn tofu so unbrowned sides touch the pan; let cook; chop a green pepper.
Add the pepper and stir a few more times so the tofu gets browned on all sides. Taste. Do you want more spice? More spice. Now is also the point at which I might add yogurt.
Cook a little more to get any new spices infused, then eat with rice.