Monday, August 30, 2010

If You Think You Don't Like Tofu, Try This

   There was a time when the thought of preparing tofu at home intimidated me.  I would use it as a stand-in for cheese in casserole dishes or lasagna, but that was about it.  I've enjoyed some tofu dishes at restaurants, but have always shied away from making a meal with tofu as the main ingredient.  Then I tried Sweet Chili Lime Tofu from Vegan Yum Yum.   This has become a staple meal at our house--Tim actually gets excited when he knows I'm going to make it.  And it's easy.  So incredibly easy.  Totally takes the intimidation factor out of cooking with tofu.  The last time I made this, I made a modified version for Meghan, as the regular dish is rather spicy and I wasn't sure if it'd be too hot for her.  I have changed the original recipe just a bit to make it a little healthier.

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu
Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

3/4 cup quinoa
zest from one lime, divided
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
1 14-ounce block of extra-firm tofu
1 bunch kale, washed, deveined, and cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 pinch salt

for the sauce
3 tablespoons agave nectar (or sugar)
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
1 3/4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 zest of the lime
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 mint leaves, chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll them up, and slice thinly)

Combine the quinoa, lime zest, cinnamon, salt and water in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow to cook for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, turn off the heat, but don't open the lid.  Allow to steam for 10 minutes before serving.

Prepare the sweet chili lime sauce by whisking together all the sauce ingredients.  I divided the ingredients and made a smaller, separate bowl of all the ingredients except the red chili flakes for Meghan.  

Drain the tofu and cut it into small triangles.  Thin, small slices work best for the dry frying method you will be using.  In order to dry fry the tofu, you need a pan that the tofu won't stick to without using any oil.  You can use either a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or a non-stick skillet.  I don't have a big enough non-stick skillet, so I had to do mine in batches.  I also used a separate pan for Meghan's.         


Heat your pan over medium heat.  Spread the tofu out in one layer.  Use a spatula to press the tofu carefully.  As you gently squeeze the liquid from the tofu, it will start to turn golden brown.  Be gentle as to not break the tofu pieces and try to squeeze as much liquid out as possible, as this will make for firmer pieces.  

After several minutes, gently flip the tofu over and continue frying on the other side.  After about 10 minutes of frying time, Add the chili lime sauce and stir to coat the tofu.  Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to bubble up, reduce, and form a glaze.  (If this doesn't happen, turn your heat back up, your pan isn't hot enough)  
Meanwhile, put your kale in a wok or large skillet with the water, lime juice, and salt.  Cover and cook them over high heat 3-4 minutes until the greens are steamed and tender.  
To serve, place the kale on your plate, top with quinoa and tofu.  Drizzle any leftover sauce over the top of everything.  

Meghan's plate looked a little different, as she likes her food separate. 
Her meal also included raw red bell peppers and some cheese.  I didn't give her any of the cooked kale.  I'm pretty sure it would be way too slimy for her--she's a big texture girl.  Anything that is too mushy or slimy and she won't even pick it up without making a face.  

I was hoping to be ready to transfer to my new site by now, but life has been so hectic that I'm just not there yet.  After this weekend (when we are traveling again), things should settle down and I hope to be able to focus on my blogging more.  I'll keep you updated as to when the move it going to happen.  

On another note, I read a really interesting article today about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that I'd like to share.  It's scary how much these types of foods can show up in what we eat without us even knowing it!  Check it out here.  Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the article and get the Non-GMO shopping guide.  I printed it out; it's a great resource.    


  1. OMG, That looks SOOO good. I'm gonna ask Sheryl to make this one and the zuchinni one. She loves to cook and I dont stop her.
    Thanks. Love and Miss You

  2. This is a good one! Let me know if you like it. I'm so glad you have Sheryl to cook for you!