RECIPE #135, DAY #157
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Pressed Bean Curd Braised with Five Flavorings,” from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey*
TIMING: 1 hour
DIFFICULTY: Fairly easy
TOOLS: A non-stick skillet or wok, 2 baking sheets, and some other things
COOK TYPE: Stovetop, frying and simmering
HEALTH: I can’t eat soy too often or it messes with my hormones. However, this is a very healthy dinner that almost everyone will enjoy, including the kiddos. Low in fat and high in veggies and protein, this is a winner for dinner (or lunch, if you are being elaborate or have leftovers).
EXPERIENCE: Once again, I was looking at the weekly package of tofu and wondering what else I could do with it. When I came across this recipe in World Vegetarian–and I am not at all sure how–it brought to mind the tofu that they keep at Moe’s to stuff their tacos, burritos, salads, and whatnot. We had tortillas and some things that could do as toppings. So I made Spanish rice (see next entry) and served these.
Everyone liked them. The tofu worked perfect as a taco filling, and lent the whole thing a little fusion-and-yet-not-fusion taste. Yum.
NOTES: We served our tacos with what we had on hand: grated cheddar, lettuce, and a quick corn and onion salsa. That was pretty perfect, but you could also go with radishes, roasted chilies, cilantro, cabbage, lime wedges, crema, feta or queso fresco, or even pico di gallo. I would keep the corn salsa, onion, and lettuce, however.
This tofu keeps great in the fridge for a few days to be used in almost anything. Throw it in a pita, serve it on a salad, pair it with leftover fried rice…
- Cut 1 block extra-firm tofu into 4 slices, the hamburger direction. Line a baking sheet with paper towel and lay the tofu slices on top. Cover them with more paper towel and a second baking sheet, then stack very heavy things on top (like large cans or cast iron pots). Meanwhile, prep all your ingredients and go take a shower or throw on some laundry.
- Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet or wok. Add 1 teaspoon sliced ginger and 4 sliced scallions and saute 30 seconds.
- Add 2 cups water, 5 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon mirin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 whole star anise.
- Remove tofu from your press and dice. Add to the sauce and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 40 minutes, making sure it does not dry out.
- Meanwhile, prep all your toppings, like grated cheese and sliced lettuce or cabbage, compose your salsas, and warm (or make) your tortillas.
- Remove tofu from any remaining liquid and discard the star anise.
Serve tacos with fixings and a side of Mexican rice and/or drunken beans. And a cerveza.
*Recipe changed from the original.