Since starting this blog I stayed away from the inclusion of a tofu recipe thus far. Despite preparing meals with tofu at least 2 days a week, I figured a tofu dish would be expected on a vegetarian blog, very cliché and the obvious default. I thought you would find it boring. While chatting with some girlfriends recently they told me that although they eat tofu they never cook it because they didn’t know how. They weren’t sure where to start and how to incorporate it into their lifestyles because they would if they could (they are not vegetarians). How many of you are struggling with cooking tofu? If you don’t fall into this category and this post bores you, please return tomorrow! But for those who are curious about how to prepare tofu, here’s the first of many tofu dishes, an easy Curry Tofu with Chickpeas. I always have tofu and chickpeas in my pantry along with the required spices. I am a first generation American, born to parents from the Caribbean so this style of cooking in this recipe is very natural for me to use.
Tofu dishes can be considered my ‘fast food’. I regularly have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be scrambled for breakfast, added to sandwiches and salads for lunch, used in an array of main and side dishes for dinner, and even in desserts. The key to adding it to the dish is knowing the type of tofu to purchase depending on what you are making. There are several different types of tofu – silken, firm, and extra-firm. Silken is used for soft things like sauces or desserts; firm is best used in salads or things that don’t require a lot of manipulation like a wrap sandwich and extra firm would be used in stir fry’s, baked dishes or deep fried. When eating out, do not be fooled by the inclusion of tofu in the dish as a healthier option. It is often deep fried when it arrives so ask how it is prepared before ordering it. If it is fried, just ask them not to. It’s a quicker process for the chef to flash fry it than to dry the water out of it.
Tofu is packaged in a big block usually with water.
What helps with gaining the right consistency for your dish before cooking is to drain the water from the tofu. I open the package, drain the water, slice the tofu, then wrap it with paper towels, changing at least twice.
I then often bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees so it just gets a little firmer and slightly brown around the edges, as I did with this dish. When I do bake it, I cube it before placing it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
With this base of tofu preparation, you can try tofu in various dishes. Here’s the Curry Tofu and Chickpeas recipe which requires this type of prepping. I hope you give it a try. I served it over a plantain mash but I also do it with rice and peas – it works with any starch you choose. Use as a side dish with your protein of choice or as a main dish if you’re exploring the green life on that day.
Feed the wellness in you!
Curry lends itself to be customized for those who love it so pay attention to your spices, taste and adjust accordingly.
- 2 pkgs extra firm tofu
- 1.5 cans garbanzo beans
- 2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/3 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1 tsp curry powder (mild, medium or hot - your choice!)
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tbl minced garlic
- Sea Salt
- 2 - 3 cups vegetable stock
- 3 tbl curry powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
- 2 stems fresh thyme
- 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (optional)
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- Prep the tofu as described above.
- Saute the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onions, garlic, ginger, 1 tsp curry powder for 5 minutes on a medium heat. Turn to low.
- Add your tofu and mix well.
- Add 1 cup of vegetable stock along with your chick peas, tomato paste, curry powder, onion powder, ground white pepper, cumin, turmeric, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, scallions, 1 tsp of sea salt, habanero or scotch bonnet pepper.
- Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring periodically.
- Add the additional cup of vegetable stock as it thickens, then turn to low for 25 minutes.
- Add salt to taste.
- Add the diced tomatoes, mix, then let sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove the scotch bonnet or habanero before serving.
- Serve over your grains with cilantro on top.