Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Making tofu tasty

One of the benefits I've found of doing bootcamp is that by cutting out a whole raft of unhealthy foods it's left more room in my diet (and in my stomach) for the healthy foods.

By cutting out meat I've naturally ended up eating a lot more pulses and by cutting down on gluten free bread and other processed gluten free products I'm eating a lot more brown rice - both of which will be doing me a lot of good.

Having also ruled out a fair few of my super quick and easy staple recipes it's pushed me to try some new recipes and in particular I've finally taken the time to make friends with tofu and have rather enjoyed it. Once I've finished bootcamp I'll keep in my diet, having some once or twice a week.

Tofu is a healthy source of protein derived from soy beans, but sadly it doesn't taste of anything ... it doesn't taste bad, just bland. The good news is that it acts as a blank canvas taking up flavours from marinades and sauces so it's worth taking the time to marinade it, or if your short on time buy it pre-marinaded.

Here are a couple of recipes I usually cook with chicken that turned out nicely with tofu instead:

Tofu brazilian (serves 2):
A quick and easy comfort dish, a bit like a xinxim.
Toss a packet of cauldron marinated tofu (160g) in 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, then stir fry in 1/2 tbsp of olive oil with 1 chopped onion and 1 minced clove of garlic for 5 minutes.
Add half a cup of coconut milk, 1/2 a red or green pepper chopped and 1 chopped tomato. Stir in 25g ground almonds and some black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce thickens. Serve over brown rice with a side of green beans or okra.

Green curry tofu (serves 2):
Mix 100ml coconut cream with 1.5 tbsp green curry paste (check for no sugar - I use 'Thai Taste' brand). Add 200g plain firm tofu and a pinch of salt and pepper and leave to marinade for 15-30mins. Heat 2tsp coconut fat (or sunflower oil) in a deep frying pan and fish the tofu out the marinade with a slotted spoon. Stir fry the tofu (reserving the marinade) and add the juice and finely grated rind of a lime to the marinade.
After 5 minutes add the marinade and reduce down for a minute. Serve over brown rice with a side of stir fried veg.
It's worth noting that most green curry sauces and pastes have sugar added so taste sweet, so if you're not eliminating sugar add 1tbsp of honey to the marinade for a taste closer to the usual thai green curry.

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