This is a dish about spices. I love Indian food but am wary of restaurants (even though Southeast Asian cuisine usually has ‘safe’ options for people who are vegan or vegetarian but I have the additional issue of gluten free). This is a great main or appetizer with an exotic blend of herbs and spices. Clockwise from top is cilantro, lemon (zest and juice), ginger root, garlic and something you may not be used to: turmeric root.
Turmeric is what gives Indian curries and indeed a lot of vegan foods their rich golden coloring. It’s very similar to ginger root in it’s appearance and texture but the flesh is a rich orange compared to the pale gold of ginger. It’s slightly sweet and intensely herbal in flavor when consumed in the root form. If you can find it, I recommend cooking with it whenever you can. I store mine in a paper bag, wetting with water occasionally to keep it from drying out completely. One tablespoon has 15% of your recomended daily allowance of iron. OMG!
All of these spices are excellent sources of anti-oxidants and micronutrients that you just can’t get anywhere else.
For this dish, you’ll need 1 package of firm Chinese style water packed tofu, cut into bite sized pieces (I used Nasyoa).
The marinade consists of the following:
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced (a piece about the size of your big toe)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric powder or a piece about the size of your thumb, grated or minced
chili powder to taste
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
juice from 1 lemon (add a little zest if you’re feeling adventurous)
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade.
Spoon over the tofu, tossing gently to coat. Let set for 30 minutes so that the flavors can marry and sink into the tofu.
Line a baking tray with foil, spray lightly with olive oil and place tofu on the tray. Bake at 400F/200C for 20 minutes on a middle-upper rack. Serve hot, with cilantro sprinkled over the top and lemon wedges for squeezing.
You can do this with any vegetables: potato, zucchini, mushrooms… even make kebabs! This is an easy way to impress taste buds with healthy exotic cuisine.
If you’re a purist and need raita, I AM working on a vegan version. So far it’s okay but needs a little something more. I’ll let you know what happens.
This is Christie, signing off.