Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Curry, Peanut, Tofu...Oh My

Well, yesterday while I was in the midst of making the Portobello Burritos from The Urban Vegan: 250 Simple, Sumptuous Recipes from Street Cart Favorites to Haute Cuisine I also decided to make her Curried Wheat Berry-Spelt Salad. This one takes a while to make simply because wheat berries take a while to cook up. The curry sauce comes together quickly though, so if you have pre-made wheat berries and spelt, then this would come together in a snap. I, however, did not so it took close to two hours to cook. The sauce uses tahini, curry powder, lemon juice, agave nectar, and other Thai-inspired spices. Again, it came together very easily and would likely make a good sauce over steamed veggies and rice as well.The veggies in this salad included carrots, bell pepper, and onion. I added peas as well for additional color.

I will admit a few snafus I had with this one. First off, I wasn't thinking straight and for some reason thought "Spelt, well I have spelt flour." Duh, spelt as in the grain. Oh well, I just substituted with more wheat berries. I also missed the part about soaking and draining raisins rather than soaking them then cooking them along with the wheat berries. So, grains a little sweater than they probably would have been otherwise. Lastly, the curry paste I had was the opposite of spicy. I know that I'll be finding another brand to use. Anyway, salad was complete and ready for later use.

I thought that some sort of spicy Thai baked tofu would pair well with the flavors of the salad. Unfortunately, I didn't find any marinades or sauces that sounded like what I was going for in her cookbook. So, after searching around, I came up with the following based on a Spicy Peanut Marinade Sauce from Vegan Verve:

Spicy Peanut Tofu

Ingredients:
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used natural)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 pound extra-firm tofu*

*Note - freezing tofu for a at least three day, then allowing to thaw in the refrigerator will give you a completely different texture (which I prefer). You are able to easily squeeze out the moisture. In turn, the tofu will soak up more of a sauce or marinade.

Directions:
Whisk together all ingredients making sure that the peanut butter is consistent throughout. This can be used as either a sauce or a marinade.

As a Marinade
Pour some of the marinade in the bottom of a large baking dish. Place tofu in marinade and marinate for at least 3 hours to get the best flavor. Be sure to flip the tofu/tempeh a few times during the time frame you choose. Bake tofu at 350 for approximately 1 hour, flipping once.

As a Sauce

Heat on medium/medium-low until it thickens.

I served the baked tofu over zucchini "noodles" that I sauteed with lite soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, fresh ginger, and garlic. I had extra marinade so I let that thicken to top the tofu.

I really enjoyed the flavors of all of the dishes. The wheat berry salad was slightly sweet, which nicely offset the heat from the spicy peanut tofu. The zucchini added that extra touch of green and nicely replaced noodles. Do you have a favorite tofu marinade?




I was glad to have had this mostly pre-made. I ended up getting really sick at work after taking my antibiotic this morning. I took it right before I left the house and ate my overnight oats within 15 minutes. Apparently that wasn't soon enough. I was pretty green and spent the majority of the day on the couch. My workouts have been sidelined and that really stresses me out. On a positive note, my sinuses seem to be doing so much better today. Hopefully tomorrow I can get back to my workouts. 


Thanks to everyone for the well wishes! I really do appreciate it.