Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cumin-Dusted Tofu with Sweet Ginger Braised Pork & Stir-Fried Broccoli

Say the word "tofu" and my children would be out of the kitchen in a flash. In fact, unless one is a vegetarian, many people would not even consider eating tofu, let alone be near it. For whatever reasons, tofu has a bad rap and is one of the more misunderstood Asian ingredients. Made from coagulating soy milk and pressed into a cake form, tofu is a healthy alternative and a good source of protein. Maybe it is because tofu is very neutral-tasting, almost without any flavor at all. Maybe it is also because the tofu has no texture, just mush when you bite into it. But I think there is a way of cooking it and the way that it is served that will make people take notice.

Start by buying a firm tofu, not the silken or soft ones. Cut into square or rectangular cubes. In this application, I will be sautéing the tofu, after sprinkling toasted cumin and coriander powder together with salt and pepper onto the top and bottom surfaces (to add some flavor). Sauté both the top and bottom surfaces until it turns slightly brown and there is a hardened crust on it. This gives the tofu some texture on the outside. Another option would be deep-fry the tofu by breading it with seasoned panko or regular breadcrumbs. Either way, this will make the tofu more palatable. To serve, I usually try to accompany tofu with a spicy condiment, like sambal or Thai sweet chili sauce.

In this dish, I am serving it with sweet ginger braised pork and stir-fried vegetables. As you can see, I also have some spicy sambal to go with everything.

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