Monday, February 28, 2011

Give it a Chance: Coconut Curry Tofu

First of all: happy birthday, Mom! Love you!

My local Price Chopper started carrying my favorite tofu again, and I impulse-bought zucchini and yellow squash. Sometimes when I don't know what veggies I want, I buy what's on sale and looks good, hoping to find a use for them later. Here's the use I found for them:

I know, I know. You've tried tofu and you don't like it. You're not a silly hippie. If I post one more vegan recipe, you're going to leave me forever.

But please please try this first! I'm pretty sure I've converted others to The Tofu Side before. Or if you must, make this but substitute chicken for the tofu. On a side note, tofu does not taste like chicken. It tastes like tofu. Expect and accept that, and it'll be an easier transition.

And if it makes you feel any better, we're going to FRY this baby! (Surprised? Of course not.)

A couple more things about me:
-I don't have a dishwasher.
-I hate doing dishes.

So we're going to make this dinner with just this:
1 plate
1 bowl
1 cutting board
1 knife
1 fork
1 large skillet

This dish also is low-carb (Atkins and South Beach friendly) and I believe gluten-free, but you'd have to check me on that.

First, start making some rice or noodles if you're planning on eating them! I forgot and kind of wished I hadn't.

Next, if you're going to make tofu for the first time, see if you can find this kind. It's absolutely the best, it's local to KC, organic, and easy to cook with.

Cut open the package and squeeze all the liquid out. Then cover it in paper towels, put it in a bowl, and put the plate on top.

I weighted down the plate with the rest of the ingredients for dinner because I thought it would be funny. The bananas are just in the way.

While the tofu is pressing, slice up a zucchini and a yellow squash.

Then add a little oil to a pan and start frying them on medium-high. Don't turn the burner on too high because you're going to walk away from it for a while.

While those are cooking, unwrap your tofu and place on a cutting board or the plate you were using.

Slice in strips one way.

Then the other way.

Then turn back and dice. Easier (and less slimy) than meat!

Feel free to use powdered ginger, but I happened to have this in the fridge from a past recipe. Fresh ginger is awesome! Just slice off the end to throw away, cut a chunk off, peel off the outer part and mince.

Also, cut a lime in half if you're using a fresh one.

Transfer the cooked zucchini and squash onto the plate you had before. Then put the tofu in the same pan, adding a little oil if it wants to stick. (I hope for your sake that your stovetop is cleaner than mine.)

Fry for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's browned. Another time I'll twice-fry this stuff, but not today.

Then put the zucchini and squash back in the pan, throw in the ginger and cook about a minute.

Use a fork or spoon (I used a fork because I wanted to just use it to eat dinner with later) to get out your Thai curry paste. If you don't have this, you can use curry powder. I have in the past and I can't tell I huge difference.

Mix the rest of the ingredients into the pan and stir.

Cook until the sauce is smooth. It won't thicken much, but you could add a little cornstarch if you wanted.

Then serve over brown rice, rice noodles or whatever you want. Again, I forgot to make rice. This was delicious, but it felt like it was missing ... well, rice. And I slurped the sauce out of the bowl. Unless you want to slurp, put something under this.

Feel free to add or substitute a veggie. I love coconut curries, so this could be adapted with this sauce on other things. Also, I usually buy light coconut milk because I can't tell the difference, but you don't have to. You do have to buy coconut milk, though. Every grocery store I've been to carries it and it's not expensive.

Coconut Curry Tofu with Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Lime
(makes about 3 servings)

Vegetable or canola oil
1 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 green zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 lime (or equivalent)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add veggies and sauté, about 5 minutes. Transfer to other dish.
2. Add tofu to the pan and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes.
3. Return veggies to skillet. Add ginger; stir about a minute.
4. Add coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce and curry paste. Mix well.
5. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 6 minutes.
6. Serve over rice or noodles if desired.

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