Category Archives: Tofu

Mouth-watering Mushroom, Kale & Tofu Scramble & Grits

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Hello! I’m back to the Indian-inspired cooking for a bit. It’s “cold” here in S. Cali this week requiring some spicy comfort food. Yes, it’s in the high 50’s to low 60’s, but what can I say? This morning I threw together a quick tofu scramble while the grits were gurgling on the stove. I love mushrooms and when I’m feeling a bit under the weather they always seem to bring me back around. For some extra nutrients, I threw in kale and tomatoes. The tomatoes were just cooked enough to be soft but still pop a little in your mouth. Hence, the “mouth-watering” description. I ate these served over yellow corn grits with a few dashes of super-spicy Marie Sharp’s Belizean Heat. I think grits have to be eaten with a bit of hot sauce. Just goes hand-in-hand.

This is an easier recipe than my scrambled tofu with spinach since I don’t use onion and garlic. It also takes less time since you don’t have to wait on the onion to cook. The only thing you have to mess with is chopping the mushrooms (and kale if using fresh). I have a bag of organic kale in the freezer. It’s handy for quick meals where I really need some greens. The kale cooks faster than fresh since the ice crystals have broken it down a bit.

If you don’t have all of the spices, run out to the store and get them! What are you waiting for? Just kidding… you can add whatever you like – just don’t use too much of any one thing so you keep a balanced flavor. Of course, you could go the Mexican or Italian route with the spices too. Tomorrow I will use the leftovers to make tacos with corn tortillas. Just throw on some spicy salsa, fresh shredded cabbage and another nice, healthy meal is ready! Here is today’s version of the tofu scramble…

Mouth-watering Mushroom, Kale & Tofu Scramble & Grits (serves 2 – 4)

1 pkg. firm tofu (press out the water for 10 – 15 minutes)
1 lb. of portabella or other mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 cup of kale, frozen or washed and chopped
2+ tbsp oil
2 tsp of black salt (or to taste)
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
hot sauce to taste
3 cups cooked grits

Heat up your trusty cast-iron skillet (or other large skillet) to medium. When it’s really hot, add your mushrooms and let them cook for a minute or two. Stir and add a pinch of salt over them. As they start cooking down and releasing their water, you can add the oil and kale. After about two minutes, crumble the tofu with your hands into the skillet. There should be bite-sized pieces and some smaller pieces. Add a bit more oil if necessary to keep it from sticking. Stir and then add all of the spices and stir again to get the spices incorporated. Reduce the heat to low. Allow to cook, stirring only once in while so that the tofu starts to get slightly brown and crispy in spots. After approximately 5 – 8 minutes, make a little space in the middle of the pan by moving everything else to the sides. Toss the tomatoes in the center and let everything cook for about 3 minutes. Stir and turn off the heat. Keep in mind that cooking times will vary depending on the type of tofu you are using, how much water is in it, if you are using cast-iron or not… Spoon over hot grits. Serve with fresh cilantro and hot sauce.

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Crunchy Cabbage & Broccoli Salad with Asian Tofu

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Welcome to The Salad Project! Today’s inspiration is a winter salad with tofu, cabbage and Asian-inspired flavors. This may seem complicated but it’s super easy. And you can always leave off the green beans to save a step. As usual, substitutions are welcome. But try this full recipe if you can. It’s truly yummy!

A note about the tofu: You may use some other protein instead of tofu, but I think you do need a protein to make this salad complete. If you have never used tofu, be sure to press the water out before you marinate it. Less water = firmer texture and more flavor. While it’s pressing and marinating you can prepare the rest of the salad and clean up the kitchen! Or prepare the tofu the day before you will use it.

Crunchy Cabbage & Broccoli Salad with Asian Tofu (Serves 2)

First, make the tofu:

1/2 package extra firm or firm tofu (not silken, not high-protein)
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red chili flakes

Press the tofu between clean dishtowels or paper towels for 1/2 hour (or longer, but keep in the fridge). After pressing, cut into bite-sized pieces and place on a plate. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the tofu. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes or longer (can keep in the fridge up to overnight). Place the tofu on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a preheated 400F oven for 10 – 15 minutes, turning the pieces over half way through cooking. When brown around the edges, remove and allow to cool to room temp. Here’s a close-up of the tofu:

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For the Sesame Green Beans:

2 tbsp sesame seeds (hulled or unhulled)
handful of fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
1 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt

Toast the sesame seeds in a small pan. This takes just a few minutes, so stay with them while they cook. Set aside. Steam the green beans in 1 inch of water for 3 – 5 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Remove to a plate and sprinkle the sesame oil, sesame seeds and a pinch of salt over the beans.

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Salad:

1 cup cabbage, chopped or shredded
3 radishes, grated
1 large stalk broccoli, florets and stem
1 clove garlic (or 1/4 tsp paste) (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger (or to taste), micro-planed (or paste)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. agave syrup (to taste – optional)
pinch of salt or to taste
wedge of fresh lemon or lime
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, green and/or white parts, chopped

For the salad:

Into a salad bowl, place the cabbage and radishes.

Prepare the broccoli by cutting off the florets and steaming them in 1 inch of water for 3 minutes until al dente. Drain well and put in the salad bowl. Use the stalk of the broccoli by first trimming off the fibrous cut end. Then peel the stalk and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to the salad bowl. Add the garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, tamari, agave and salt to the bowl and mix well. Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad and toss in the cilantro and green onions. Stir and set aside.

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To plate:

Divide the salad between two plates or bowls. Top with the green beans and tofu. Garnish with some cilantro leaves and green onion. Enjoy!

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Curried Tofu Scramble with Spinach

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Curried Tofu Scramble with Spinach

Hello! Welcome to This Spicy Life… I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. Spring has brought so many chores and activities that have kept me away from blogging for the past few weeks. Hopefully I can get the momentum going again and start posting more frequently!

This morning I woke up early with the kids. It’s a sunny-cloudy day, so we aren’t sure if it’s about to pour down rain or if we should get outside while the weather holds. Either way, with a very active day ahead I wanted to make a high-protein breakfast this morning. I decided on tofu and a vegetarian sausage along with some fresh organic strawberries and a left-over chappati from last night.

A word about the sausage: I found this pack of Harmony Valley Vegetarian Sausage Mix at Henry’s Market.

I used a portion of it over the last few months adding a little of it to chili and jambalaya with great success. I finished up the pack today by adding water, letting it rest, forming it into patties and then shallow frying in a bit of oil. The texture is fantastic and the taste is great. I like this more than the Gimme Lean brand of sausage for making patties. If you can find it at your local grocery, I recommend you try it out.

Here’s my recipe for Curried Tofu Scramble with Spinach. If you don’t have the individual spices listed, you may substitute 2 tsp curry powder. I have seen lots of similar recipes in cookbooks and on blogs, so can’t attribute my adaptation to any one source.

Curried Tofu Scramble with Spinach

Serves 4

  • 1 package of firm or extra-firm tofu (not silken)
  • 2 – 4 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped (I used spring onions with green tops)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped (or 1 cup frozen, thawed, water squeezed out)
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, cut in bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder (optional)
  • 1/2 avocado, diced (optional)

Method:

  1. Press the water out of the tofu: Remove the tofu from packaging and place on a towel-lined plate. Place another towel on top of the tofu and then a can of something as a weight or another plate inverted. This will press out a lot of the water. Let it sit like this until step 5.
  2. Heat a skillet or saute pan over medium heat and add the oil.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Stir around occasionally for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili (if using) (or the curry powder  if using in place of these spices) and the salt. Stir to incorporate and let cook for 1 minute.
  5. Crumble the tofu with your hands and add it to the pan. Stir it around, but don’t mash it. I like it to remain pretty chunky. (Actually this is a personal choice – some people may like it more finely crumbled – so crumble it to the size you like!)
  6. Allow the tofu to start getting brown spots here and there. Let it cook for about 3 minutes, stirring about once every minute.
  7. Add the spinach and allow to cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure that any water that was added along with the spinach evaporates. You may have to increase the heat a bit.
  8. Turn off the heat and stir in the tomatoes and garam masala (if using). Allow to sit for a minute before serving.
  9. After plating, top with the avocado (if using). You can also top it with hot sauce or another condiment…Enjoy!

Spinach Tofu Curry

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Spinach Tofu Curry

Hello! and welcome…I’m back in the saddle after a brief break. I have a lot of recipes to post this week, so let’s get started!

One of my readers requested a recipe for palak paneer (spinch-cheese curry). I wanted to try a different recipe for palak paneer since there are so many varieties. After much hand-wringing I went back to my go-to recipe since I know how it turns out and I think it’s a great variation. It’s also super easy to make and doesn’t require any special ingredients from the Indian grocery store. This recipe is a riff on a recipe my Dear Mother-In-Law gave me years ago and actually appears in her cookbook, Green Leafy Vegetables.

Please note that I use tofu in place of paneer but feel free to use it if you can get it or if you make your own. This recipe is also very tasty with potatoes cooked in the gravy instead of or in addition to the tofu or paneer.

Spinach Tofu Curry (or Palak Tofu)

Serves 4

  • 1+ tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp margarine (or butter or ghee)
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1  green chili, finely chopped (or to taste, optional)
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce (or 1/2 tsp tomato paste or 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh tomato)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen but thawed spinach, finely chopped*
  • Water
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 8 oz (approximately) firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed (or paneer)
  • additional oil for preparing tofu/paneer/potatoes
  • 4 tbsp yogurt (soy or other) (optional)

Start by heating the 1 tbsp oil and the margarine/butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the cloves and bay leaf and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add the onion and stir around while it turns translucent, adding a little bit more oil if it starts to stick. When the onion starts to turn brown on the edges stir in the garlic, ginger and green chili (if using). Allow to cook for a couple of minutes, adding a little bit of oil or water if it starts sticking. Add the tomato sauce and salt and stir. Wait for one minute and then stir in the spinach and garam masala. If the mixture is very thick, add a little water to make it the consistency of gravy. (The amount of water that you will need to add depends on how you will eat the curry. If you are eating it with bread, then you want a drier mixture. If you are having it with rice, then make it a little wetter.) Turn the heat to low and allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the spinach is simmering, prepare the tofu/paneer. Cut it into bite sized pieces. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add the tofu/paneer pieces and fry until light golden brown. Flip over and fry the other side the same way. Remove from the pan and drain.

Add the tofu/paneer to the spinach mixture and allow to simmer for another 2 minutes. Before serving, turn off the heat and add the yogurt (if using) and stir gently. Serve with chapatis, naan or rice.

*I used fresh spinach. I washed it well and drained the water. I put it into my vitamix (blender) with water to cover and processed until it was finely chopped. You can also use a food processor or hand chop if you like.

Tandoori-Roasted Tofu Wraps

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Tandoori-Roasted Tofu Wraps

Good Morning! Yesterday was our last night with the In-Laws. Sadly they are flying back to NJ as I write. We decided to make Tandoori-Roasted Tofu Wraps and Tandoori-Roasted Quorn for the egg-eaters with roasted cauliflower, marinated red onion, fresh mint and cilantro chutney wrapped in freshly grilled chappatis. These are equally delicious made with paneer, potatoes or gluten in place of the tofu or Quorn.

Some notes:

There are three components to this recipe, so be prepared to spend a little time in the kitchen. It’s definitely worth your time though, so just plan ahead a little to make it easier.

We use a commercial tandoori masala mix to save time. It isn’t the most healthy thing to eat, but we don’t make this very often. You can make your own tandoori masala at home. There is a cookbook called Classic 1000 Indian Recipes that has tons of masala recipes. Or you can just find one on the internet…

Same goes for the cilantro chutney – it’s just such a time saver to get a commercial chutney paste to use in these situations.

Another time saver is to follow these steps:

  1. Marinate the tofu and cauliflower (if using)
  2. Make the chapati dough (if making homemade)
  3. Prepare the onion and chutney and set aside
  4. Bake the tofu / cauliflower and set aside
  5. Roll out the chappatis and cook
  6. Assemble
  7. Eat!

Tandoori-Roasted Tofu Wraps

Serves 2-4

Tofu & Cauliflower

  • 1 pkg of extra firm tofu (not silken)
  • 2 cups cauliflower (or potato is yummy), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup soy yogurt, regular yogurt or 1/2 cup almond milk or soy milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 pkg Shan or other Tandoori Masala (or to taste)

Press the tofu for 1/2 hour to get as much water released as possible. In the meantime, make the marinade: Combine the Masala with the yogurt or soy milk so it is a gravy consistency. Taste for the heat level. You may want to add more masala. If it’s too hot, add more yogurt/milk. Divide into two batches. Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces and put it in one batch of the masala. Put the cauliflower in the other batch. Mix both all around to coat all sides. Allow to marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to overnight.

Heat the oven to 350F. Cover a baking sheet with foil and oil liberally. Drain the tofu mixture of any excess water. Place the tofu on the baking sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven and stir it around – it’s okay if the tofu breaks up a bit but try to keep it intact. Put back in the oven and after another 10 minutes check on the texture. If it’s a good texture that you like, remove from the oven. If you want it firmer put it back in for another 5-10 minutes. I like to get a little crispy texture so when it’s almost done I crank up the oven to 500F and let it get roasted on the top for just a few minutes. Just be sure you don’t overcook it!

Now repeat the above steps with the cauliflower but check on it after only 10 minutes, stir it around and see if it’s cooked well-enough for you. Remove when you like the texture and mix it in with the tofu. Set aside.

Chapatis

You can use pre-made chappatis or even flour tortillas, but it’s so much better if you can get the atta or chapati flour from an Indian/Asian grocery store and make your own.

  • 3 cups of atta flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup or more water
  • additional flour for rolling out the dough
  • 4 tbsp oil (approximately and optional)

Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of water and start kneading the mixture into a dough. Keep adding water until all the flour is incorporated and you have a nice soft dough. Knead by hand for 5 minutes, cover and let rest for at least 1/2 hour.

Heat a flat skillet or griddle on medium heat. Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and roll into a ball between your hands. Place on a floured surface and roll into a flat circle about 6 inches in diameter. These are about as thick as a flour tortilla, but you can make them thicker or thinner if you like. If using oil, put a few drops of oil on the skillet and immediately put the chapati on top. Put a few drops of oil on the top side of the chapati and let cook for 30 seconds. Flip the chapati and allow to cook until it starts getting little brown spots. Then flip again to finish the first side. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Keep them warm wrapped in foil or some tea towels.

Garnish

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chutney

Place the sliced onion, mint and vinegar in a bowl and allow to marinate for at least 1/2 hour. The onions will start to wilt. When ready to use, just drain the vinegar from the bowl and set aside.

Put the chutney in a bowl and add water (if it’s thick) to make a sauce.

Assembly

Place one or two (or three) chapatis on a plate and sprinkle the tofu and cauliflower over the center (about 1/4 cup or more depending on the size of your chapatis). Spoon 1 – 2 tsp chutney over all and then your drained onion/mint mixture.

Roll the chapati up like a burrito and either eat or secure with a toothpick to keep it assembled. Enjoy!