Friday, January 28, 2011

braised tofu and peas in curried coconut milk

This is my favorite Mark Bittman recipe so far: braised tofu and peas in curried coconut milk.* I made it Wednesday night, and it was a perfect one pot meal. It didn't take that long to prepare-- I got home from work at 6:30 and dinner was on the table at 7:30-- but it seemed like a meal I'd slaved over all day. I followed the basic recipe, but I added in some of the extras, too.

The first thing I did was prepare my tofu. Last week I tried freezing it, and this week I tried pressing. I cut the brick in half, put it between paper towels and plates, and stuck my tea kettle on top. I let that sit while I prepared the rest.
I combined onions and canned tomatoes in a food processor, and then I added those, along with carrots, garam masala and curry powder, to my hot le creuset with some oil. Mr. Bittman said to use a neutral oil like corn or grapeseed, but I didn't have those so I went with canola. I let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, until it thinned a bit.
Next I added green peas and the chopped, pressed and squeezed tofu. About the tofu: pressing and squeezing is wonderful. I could tell, even before I cooked the tofu, that it would have a better texture, and I was right. People, press your tofu!
After the tofu and peas were heated, I added in coconut milk and spinach (and forgot to take a phote of the pot). I topped each bowl with a scoop of rice and cilantro, and we were ready to eat.
EDW and I LOVED this. It's got a tiny bit of heat, since I used half hot curry powder and half mild, and a wonderful flavor palate. The tofu is plump but still firm, and I love the spinach and peas with the oniony tomato mixture. This is a perfect dish, and I will make it again and again.

Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. "Braised Tofu and Peas in Curried Coconut Milk." p. 648-649