Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tofu That Will Change Your Mind

We eat curry at least a few times a month. Whether it's mild or spicy, Thai or Indian, at a restaurant or at home, we love it all ways. I really enjoy cooking it at home because you can be creative and change it up based on what you have in your pantry. Sometimes we make green curry, sometimes red, sometimes we top it with peanuts, golden raisins or bean sprouts, and sometimes we serve it over rice noodles instead of rice.

Last night I made us a batch of yellow curry over sushi rice, cauliflower and tofu. Curry usually calls for coriander, but I was all out, so I just threw in curry powder, turmuric, cumin and ginger. I usually prefer to serve the curry over brown basmati rice, or at least regular long-grain brown rice, but over the weekend we had a moth emergency (gross!) and realized we had moth babies making themselves nice and comfortable in our cupboard - this was after a week or so of Matt breathing curse words and grabbing moths out of the air with his bare hands like Mr. Miyagi. Once we realized where they were coming from, we sadly had to throw out all - I mean ALL - of our grains. All of my rices, polenta, grits, buckwheat, oatmeal, barley, wheatberries and bulgar wheat was tossed out. Cereal too. Such a bummer, since many of my grains were gathered during sporadic trips up to Trader Joe's (someone please tell me we are getting a TJ's here soon!). Sushi rice was the only thing salvageable since it was stored in an airtight container. Anyway, this is all to say that you can really make curry with whatever you have around. Although the one I made last night was not traditional, it was deliciously creamy, a bit sweet and had a slight kick, and the sushi rice had a nice chewy texture.

Finally, if you're really not a tofu person, you can always make it with chicken or shrimp. But, before you shy away from the soy stuff, check out the recipe below. I've made a tofu believer out of more than a few omnivores using this recipe - including my husband and sister, who were once avid tofu-haters and now sneak into the kitchen to steal pieces of this from the pan every time I make it. It's the coating of nutritional yeast that makes all the difference...this yellow, flakey powder has a really unique flavor and actually creates a crust on the tofu. No slimy, jiggly tofu here! Tofu is packed with protein but has only a small amount of fat, so it's a great food to add to your rotation; this recipe is very versatile, so once I cook the tofu we use it in stir-frys, over salads, and even in burritos or sandwich wraps. Give it a try!

Nutritional Yeast

This is what the tofu should look like when finished

Ginger Garlic Pan Fried Tofu

Serves 5 (or 2-3 very hungry people)
Serve with stir-frys, salads or burritos/wraps

1 package light firm tofu (I use Nasoya)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. tamari (soy sauce is fine if you don't have tamari)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (you can find this at any healthfood store, and some grocery stores are carrying it now as well)
Cooking spray or canola oil

Coat a large nonstick pan with cooking spray or canola oil and set on medium heat (the oil makes a nicer crust, but if we're having fat elsewhere in the dinner, I just use cooking spray). Drain the tofu, pat it dry and cut into medium-sized cubes. A serving size is 1/5 a package, so cut it in fifths. Once the pan is hot, add the tofu and sprinkle it with the salt. Do not crowd the pan or the tofu will steam rather than fry. Let it cook for about five minutes, then turn; you know the tofu is ready to turn when it sticks a bit to the pan and has a golden brown color. Continue to cook until most sides are brown, adding more oil or cooking spray as necessary. Once tofu is brown, sprinkle it with the ginger and garlic powder, then toss so it's evenly coated (do this quickly or the garlic will burn). Then pour in the tamari and immediately turn off the heat. The tamari will simmer in the pan; toss the tofu again so it's all fully coated. Then add the yeast and toss again. Serve immediately, or chill to serve over salads.

Nutrition Facts** (no oil): 40 calories; 1.5 grams fat; 1 gram carbs; less than 1 gram fiber; 7 grams protein

Yellow Coconut Curry with Tofu

Serves 2

1/2 cup sushi rice (any rice will do)
2 servings ginger garlic tofu (recipe above)
2 cups cooked cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. yellow curry
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmuric
2 dashes crushed red pepper flakes
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1 tsp. shredded coconut flakes

Cook rice according to package directions. While rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, garlic and salt; saute until golden brown. Add the curry, ginger, cumin, turmuric and red pepper flakes and stir for about 1 minute. Then add coconut milk and stir everything to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes, until tomatoes heat through and start to burst. To serve, split the rice between two bowls; top each rice bowl with half the cauliflower, half the onion/curry mixture and half the tofu. Garnish with coconut flakes.

Nutrition Facts**: 380 calories; 12 grams fat; 59 grams carbs; 3 grams fiber; 12.5 grams protein


  1. I can't wait to try both of these recipes!!! I was literally just barely trying to find a recipe for ginger tofu because I wanted to try to re-create the one that I had at the co-op that grandma bought, minus the frying obviously, so I'm going to try this one out, thanks!!! and, last weekend when I was out shopping I bought all the stuff to make a coconut curry dish. Had planned on using chicken but now I'm going to try this out. Thanks hun!! Love the new blog :-) xoxoxo

    1. Oh good! Hope you like it! Let me know how it turns out :)