Sunday, January 27, 2013

Black Bottom Tofu with Cashew Coconut Rice

Every few months, I suddenly become aware of how I must eat a lot of protein and these days, that thought is  on my mind more than ever.
With this consciousness comes the realization of how very limited my options of getting sufficient protein are.
While we argue that beans and legumes are an optimal source of protein, many argue, they are not a 'pure' source of protein, like meat.
Well, that door is closed where I am concerned. 
What are my options then?
Having grown up eating Varan-bhaat, poli - bhaji (Daal-chaval, roti-subzi- typical meal in a Marathi- Kannadiga home)  everyday, beans and legumes are still my favored source. 
And much as I dislike it, I must acknowledge, so is Tofu.
My dislike for Tofu is second to  that of my dislike for eggplant. While I do not even consider eating the eggplant , tofu occasionally does make it's way in. 
I have used tofu before, and while that was necessary at that point of time, I had vowed not to eat it again. Nevertheless, the husband is *very* health conscious and turns up his nose at 'the usual' made at home and I put my foot down to bringing any alternate and pure source of protein at home, let alone make it and eat it.
Of late, I have also realized that I have a textural preference for food and some foods, therefore do not  appeal to me. 
To put it crudely, some foods make me queasy.
What a hopeless situation! But I must get tofu to amp up the protein. So every  few weeks, we drive to the local KoMart ( Asian store) and buy ourselves 4 (four) blocks of Tofu and come home. 
I groan inwardly, every time. 

I know that I need some really good  recipes for making tofu and a good place to start is the library and other blogs. I raided the library last week and came home, armed with Vegetarian Times: Fast and Easy cookbook
The result, right before your eyes!

Do the prep, drain  the tofu, and set it on a plate and weigh down with  some weight ( like a Pyrex bowl and a can or 2 in it) and drain the tofu of any excess water.


3/4 cup  Basmati Rice
1/3 cup Raw Cashew Pieces
2 Tbsp. Shredded Dry Coconut ( unsweetened)
2 Tbsp Avocado or Vegetable Oil ( I used Canola)
1 Tsp. Minced Peeled Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
   1/4 tsp. Turmeric powder
   1/4 tsp. Salt


1 can (15 oz) Pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice
2 Tbsp Tamari or low sodium  Soy Sauce
1Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Oil
1 pound Firm Tofu cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup Diced Carrot
1/4 cup Diced Red Bell Pepper
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro to garnish
1 tsp Sesame seeds to garnish.

Wash the rice in several changes of water. Drain and set aside
To make the rice, put all the ingredients in a large saucepan.  over medium heat for 4 minutes  or until fragrant, stirring constantly.

For stove-top method:
Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat  to medium low  and simmer 15 minutes or until water is absorbed

My method:
Add the rice to the electric rice cooker , add water and set to cook. Done

As the rice cooks, make the black bottomed pineapple Tofu.
Drain the chunks and reserve the juice.
Combine the juice, tamari, vinegar,oil in a large non-stick pan/ skillet.
Add the tofu cubes in a single layer and bring to a boil over high heat.
Continue boiling without turning the tofu cubes (that is the key)-9 minutes or until liquid becomes thick and tofu cubes are dark brown on the bottom.
Add the pineapple chunks and the diced veges between the tofu cubes, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for 4 minutes or until the pineapple begins to brown. remove from heat and toss the ingredients with a spatula.

Fluff rice with a fork and spoon onto one side of the dish.Transfer tofu mixture to the other side.
sprinkle with Cilantro and sesame seeds and serve.

To me, the most difficult part is to get any kind of flavor into the Tofu. It just feels so blah! and *so* chewy.
The way tofu is cooked in this recipe helps me overcome that hurdle. I need to let it blacken more.

The bonus is the pineapple and veges which add to the over all taste and make it very appetizing!

My only issue was, there is no chili ( mirchi) in the recipe. To overcome the lack of heat, I simply use Siracha sauce. I love Siracha. It saves the day, many a times. 

I try to get  Quinoa in my meals. Tofu occasionally. Beans , legumes are of course mostly used.
So how do you all fix your meals around proteins? Leave a comment and do share your ideas and suggestions.
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  1. Wholesome meal...looks so inviting...

  2. I love protiens! When I am in the mood for some comfort food I crave for some protien (varan or rajma in my case). I dont like Tofu when its not the 'extra firm' kind, any other (even firm) has a jelly like jiggle to it and is not so great. We don't eat much tofu. I like to sprout different types of beans so we have some kind of usal or bean salad in our meals. Dals of all kinds get made everyday. I love snacking on boiled edamame, pistachios, hummus, peanuts. We love to have an egg-roti wrap for breakfast and enjoy milk, cheese and yogurt occasionally. I try to get protiens that are in their most natural form (least processed) and protien is always provided by nature paired with carbs and fat just as nature intended it to be. So instead of 'Pure' I try to strive for 'natural' and find several options to enjoy.

  3. I forgot to add in my comment above. You can also include 'nachni' or Ragi in your diet which is a good source of protien, iron and calcium. I see that you have already tried quinoa, I like it best paired with Rajma (as in rajma-chawal) or any beans curry.

  4. The Never ending quest of protein is on my list since my boys are growing up and like you we are not meat cooking family. I am having quinoa in recipes wherever rava and rice are called for, I tried eating cooked Quinoa with masoor amti, and believe me I DID not MISS rice. Its tastes not so great with varan, but any amti and its great. I even added it in Pepper bhaji and ate it like a quick salad with some chopped onions and cilantro. I even tried in in Handvo and it worked there too. So adding Quinoa in such recipes maybe 2-3 times a week will also help us. Will keep you posted though.
    Love Ash.

  5. We ear tofu very regularly, in sandwiches and in salads. I marinate them in soy sauce, honey and tamari and then bake them. Not at all chewy and the tofy absorbs the flavors beautifully. Will post a recipe soon. Amarantha and quinoa are also good substitutes for non-meat protein.

  6. Hi,

    In this day and age, I hear people and their well-meaning Doctors stressing the importance of proteins; add to it the fads of "protein only" diets. As grown adults, we do not need that much protein! What?? Yes, I repeat that the protein one gets from grains and vegetables/legumes/beans is sufficient for a grown adult. I am a pharmacologist and a nutritionist who studies food trends.

    The meat industry did what the diary industry did many ions ago: eat a pure protein source everyday!! They also sponsor a lot of research to prove that.

    So, I would not worry too much about eating protein. In fact the GMO soy that we get here in the US and other TVPs might do you more harm than good..

  7. Looks different & yummy....picture perfect.. :-)


  8. Very interesting and delicious recipe...would like to try this, thanks for sharing!

  9. I used to not love tofu once upon a time but the more I cooked it, the more I fell in love with its versatility. Tofu is definitely one of the staples in my refrigerator now, and although I don't eat it all the time, I use it in almost anything-- in biryanis (in lieu of yogurt), in fruit shakes, in quiches, and even in lassis. Your black-bottom tofu sounds amazing and looks delicious.

  10. Delicious looking recipe...Perfect yummy meal..


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