Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Posts Tagged ‘dinners under $ 10’

Curried Tofu Salad

Posted by fourclankitchen on November 17, 2012

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.

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

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Posted in Asian, Brunch, Chinese, Main Dishes, salads, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Quick Curried Okra (Bhindi)

Posted by fourclankitchen on September 30, 2011

This is the simplest of simple vegetables to prepare on a weeknight.  Its caloric content is low and its nutritional value is high.  Does this sound like a winner or what?  This version of okra is made without onions, in the style of Rajasthan, the desert state of NW India.  The Jain tradition is strong here and people of this community do not eat onions, garlic – or anything that grows under the ground or hurts an animal (even a lowly underground worm).

The dominant flavors of this dish are coriander powder and hing (asafoetida).  To extract the most out of this minimal amount of flavoring, the spices are rapidly fried in hot oil to extract their flavor.  Then the okra is added to the infused oil and stir-fried at high heat so that it has a nearly fried flavor (same concept as Chinese stir frying).

A word or two about okra.  It is not the slimy vegetable that you might associate with gumbo, but it can turn into a soggy mess in no time at all.  Remember water is the enemy of okra.  Therefore do not use frozen okra and dry your okra with a paper towel after rinsing.  Also use high heat while cooking it so it has no chance to turn soggy on you.

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh okra, with the tops and bottoms cut off and slit down the middle.

2 -2.5 tbs cooking oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 heaping tsp coriander powder

1 tsp sweet paprika (increase heat by substituting cayenne as desired)

1 very generous pinch of asafeotida

1/4 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste.

Method:

1. Heat oil in a 12″ cast iron skillet or other large skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the cumin and stir around till it sizzles.  Then add the hing and stir until it gets fragrant- a few seconds.  Then add the coriander powder, turmeric  and paprika and fry the spices for another  20 seconds or so until fragrant. Do not burn your spices.

2. Now add the okra in a single layer (do not crowd) to the pan and stir to mix in the spices.  Add the salt. Continue cooking on high heat until the okra skin starts to brown.  This should take about 10 min.  When your okra is done, it should be crunchy as you bite into it.  Serve with any Indian meal.  Me?  I eat it as you would a French fry or potato chips as a munchie.  Very little actually gets to the dinner table!

Posted in Asian, Indian Food, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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