I was at my Food Action Team meeting the other day and the intro question was posed, what is your favorite way to cook tofu? Admittedly, I am a somewhat newbie when it comes to making tofu. I’ve only (mostly) mastered it in the last year or so and I still turn to cookbooks for ideas on the best way to get the texture down. I know I’ve done a somewhat good job when William, who like me had decided he did not like it, has really taken to it. A few hours before sharing at my food group about how I made this tasty baked tofu using a dry rub (a new method for me), I received a text from William about how tasty his tofu lunch leftovers were. He’ll only eat leftovers if they were particularly good the first time.
The whole idea that I’d be sharing a great way to cook tofu around a kitchen table with a few long-time vegetarians listening in is slightly humorous. I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately about not being afraid to be myself and I’ve been hearing them loud and clear. Eleven years ago, I was the girl who was proudly sporting a homemade PETA (People for the Eating of Tasty Animals) shirt around my high school. I wasn’t into eating a whole lot more meat then than I do now, but as president of my FFA chapter, having just sold the champion market steer at the county fair, and having been nicknamed the Queen of Agriculture by some of my teachers, I guess I thought I had an image to uphold. Or I really wasn’t in touch with myself.
The biggest lesson I am slowing learning is how to let go of the long-standing public face I put on that either does things to uphold a standard/appease my community or alternatively (and more often) closes down and reveals nothing. Instead, I’d like to put more effort into getting curious, saying yes to new experiences and people, trying new foods I’ve deemed off limits or don’t like, and maybe not be so guarded when others want to be let in. I might stumble and fail for a while but like my experience with tofu, there’s the strong possibility that eventually I’ll get it right.
This whole tofu experience was inspired by Runnin SriLankan, a fellow Recipe Redux blogger. Since this happens to be The Recipe Redux’s birthday month, we’re celebrating by making or getting inspired by each other’s recipes.
Shashi shared her Curried Mango Pork Chops a while ago, and my creative juices were immediately flowing to remake the whole thing into a rice and tofu bowl with a curried fruit chutney when our local summer stone fruits come into season. I’ve been super anticipating the local apricots which are available here at the beginning of summer so the apricots are a key component. Made into a savory-sweet chutney, spiced up with notes of curry powder and smoked paprika, and served alongside rice, carrot curls, and dark leafy greens, this is a really lovely meal for either a weeknight or a slower weekend evening.
Curried Tofu and Apricot Chutney with Basmati Rice, serves 4
Cooked Brown Basmati Rice
2-3 large carrots
1 large bunch kale or other greens
1 lb. firm or extra-firm tofu
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbs. honey
2 cups diced apricots (about 6)
- In a small dish, combine the dry rub spices and set aside.
- Drain and press the tofu for at least 30 minutes. Then, slice it into cubes. Lay out in a single layer in a baking dish and then toss the dry rub to coat all sides.
- Bake the tofu in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, stirring/flipping the cubes halfway through.
- While the tofu is baking, make the chutney in a small saucepan by adding the diced apricots, curry powder, paprika, ginger, raisins, vinegar, salt, and honey together. Bring to a simmer and allow the ingredients to meld together and become thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- While the chutney is simmering and tofu is baking, use a vegetable peeler to make long curls with 2-3 carrots. Set aside and chop the kale or other greens.
- Remove the tofu from the oven when crisp-baked and then serve with rice, carrots, greens, and a spoonful (or several) of apricot chutney.