Friday, January 27, 2017

Indian-Influenced Cauliflower or Tofu

You know those movies that veer far from the truth but do a little CYA by claiming to be "inspired by real events"? Well, that's my relationship to recipes (I alluded to this in my 2013 recipe for Lemony Quinoa with Kale and Baked Olives).

I had tried this Serious Eats Grilled Spiced Cauliflower recipe and liked it, but immediately changed it significantly. First of all, I just don't grill that often so I eliminated that step in favor of oven roasting. Second, I thought it would taste better if I bloomed the spices in oil rather than sprinkling them on dry. Third, I felt the spice mix was way too salty, so I halved the salt (and omitted the red pepper flakes to respect the children's taste) . I don't know, maybe that counts as more than "inspired by", but it doesn't really matter. The family was happy with the end result.

The innovation this time was that I turned it into a marinade for tofu as well. All I did for that was to make the spices and oil a bit thinned out with stock. Because we are not vegetarian and I have small amounts of chicken stock on hand more often, I used chicken stock. I'm sure you could omit it, but I liked that it made a bit of a sauce. You could thicken further by dotting the top of the tofu with a tablespoon of butter, a trick I got from the DALS Miso Butter Tofu recipe (I didn't love the recipe other than that).

We all liked our tofu and cauliflower and I think I'll make it again, possibly with just a pinch of sugar to round out the flavor profile.

INGREDIENTS
I like to make a double or triple batch of the spice mix to have on hand for weeknight ease. You'll need more than a single batch if you're making both tofu and cauliflower at the same time.
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Medium to large pinch brown or coconut sugar (optional)

2 TBSP olive or other oil
1/4 c. unsalted or low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock if doing tofu marinade

Enough cauliflower for you and your family for a meal AND/OR
1 block firm or extra firm tofu (12-16 oz) drained. I don't bother to press. If I do anything, I do a hot water brine and then drain and dry

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, oil, or Silpat for cauliflower. You'll just need an 8x8 dish (or thereabouts) for tofu
  2. Make the spice blend in any quantity
  3. Clean and cut up the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and/or similarly cut the tofu into bit-sized cubes. 
  4. Put cauliflower in a large bowl (easier to mix) and tofu in the baking dish you'll be using
  5. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium
  6. Add a full batch or two of spice mix to the skillet and cook until it smells toasty and great
  7. If making cauliflower, pour over in the bowl and stir til coated, then put on the rimmed baking sheet
  8. If making tofu, add the 1/4 c stock to the pan and stir until pretty well mixed, then pour over the tofu. Dot with one TBSP of butter in small pieces if desired
  9. Bake until roasted (cauliflower) or bubbly and golden (tofu), starting to check around 15 minutes. Shouldn't take more than about 30 minutes total
  10. Serve with rice, quinoa or millet (that you've made in your Instant Pot, of course!)