There are those who eat tofu as a meat substitute. I think it is a mediocre meat substitute, but is really good on its own, particularly because it can take on any flavor you ask it to. Take for instance the red curry tofu salad our local co-op sells. It has Indian curry powder and some cajun spices in it and it tastes like a wonderful blend of the two. Whoda thunk? Its delicious, but expensive. You shouldn’t pay 7.99/lb for a bit of tofu. So I resolved to make it with the ingredients I had on hand. My take on this salad is very close to the store bought version, its just slightly less greasy and certainly a lot cheaper. This is definitely going to enter my lunch pantheon. Try it and you might also get hooked to eating tofu as well. It would also be wonderful with chicken: I will try that next.
1 pk extra firm tofu cut lengthwise into three slabs
2 tbs. vegetable oil, divided
2 tbs mayonnaise (the store sells a vegan version with vegennaise: no idea how this is made, but it tastes just fine)
1 tbs. apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning (or any cajun seasoning, barbecue dry rub etc. you have)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp curry pwd
pinch of cayenne (the hot stuff)
five grinds black pepper
salt to taste
1 large carrot, shredded in the food processor or on a grater
1 stalk celery finely diced or shredded in the food processor
2-3 tbs. finely diced onion (preferably a sweet variety, do not grate in food processor)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
The day before you will make your salad, drain the tofu brick on paper towels, taking as much moisture off as possible. Leave uncovered in fridge overnight.
Heat 1/2 -1 tbs oil in a griddle or sauté pan (the amount will depend on the type of pan you use, you don’t want the tofu to stick and you don’t want it greasy).
When hot, turn the stove to medium high and place your tofu slabs in the pan and brown, about 4 min per side (provided the tofu was drained as outlined above).
Remove from the flame and let the tofu cool down to room temperature.
Meanwhile, whisk the mayo, oil, vinegar, sugar and spices together and let the flavors blend.
Process your vegetables.
Cut the tofu into small cubes and mix together the vegetables, the dressing and the tofu. Be gentle so you don’t break the tofu to bits. Taste and adjust the salt, sugar and vinegar.
Let the salad sit for at least half an hour in the fridge before serving or consuming.