Thursday, June 21, 2012
It's freezing today. I mean proper finger numbing, toe aching, shiver-inducing cold as cold can be. Perth is the craziest place of extremes, hot as hell in summer and then just as freezing as back home in NZ in the wintertime?! That's why I enjoy spring and autumn so much, give me mild any day.
When most people would simply reach for another jumper to put on, light the fire or switch on the heater I tend to think about ways to heat myself up from the inside out... with chilli. It's no surprise that I am a big chilli fan and I try to sneak them into as many dishes as I can throughout the year, but it is in winter that I really appreciate the heat they bring.
This dish is rather straight forward and the kind of thing I like to cook for myself when the kids are at school. One pan, loads of flavour and with a lovely chilli kick to warm my belly. Serve over brown rice to make a meal out of it and any leftovers will store nicely in the fridge for a day or so.
I've kept this vegan, but if you do eat fish; a few teaspoons of fish sauce added at the end will liven things up. This recipe can easily be doubled to feed a crowd. If there are nut allergies in your family, use a neutral oil like rice bran oil in place of the peanut.
serves 2 as a main with rice or 4 as part of a larger meal.
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 spring onions, white part only
- 1 long Thai red chilli, roughly chopped
- 350g firm non GMO tofu, patted dry and cut into 2cm cubes
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4-1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons natural raw sugar
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- juice of 1/2 lime
- cooked brown rice, to serve
- coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish, optional
Make a paste with the garlic, ginger, spring onion and chilli by either blending in a small food processor or pounding in a mortar and pestle. Add a little water if blending in processor to help get things going.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over med-high heat, add tofu cubes and fry, turning to evenly brown on all sides. Remove tofu from the pan and scrape out any little crispy bits that make be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add paste to the frying pan, turn down to low and cook, stirring often for a good 5 minutes, adding a touch of water/stock if needed to keep things from burning. Add tofu back into the pan and stir to coat with chilli paste. Add turmeric, 1/4 cup water/stock, salt and sugar and continue to cool over low heat, constantly stirring and adding more water as needed for a further 5 minutes. You want this to be a fairly dry mixture, but go ahead and add more water/stock if needed so that you can cook out the raw onion taste without burning the mixture, the liquid will evaporate quickly anyway. Season well with sea salt and black pepper to taste and squeeze over fresh lime juice. Serve hot, on cooked brown rice, scattered with coriander (cilantro) leaves.
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