Sunday, July 10, 2016

Coconut Crusted Tofu

Tofu is inherently not a very tasty ingredient on it’s own, so whether I like any tofu dish depends on the preparation. The ingredients that the tofu is cooked with as well as the method of cooking have the power to greatly alter the simple (fairly bland) tofu and convert it into a flavorful and texturally pleasing dish. I’m continuously exploring different ways to cook tofu with ingredients that complement each other and elevate this plant-based protein to new levels. Some of my favorite recipes are listed at the bottom of this post.

Today’s tofu preparation is not just crispy, tasty and healthy, it’s beautiful green color is also pleasing to the eye. This recipe uses a creamy cilantro and yogurt marinade that gives it a slight tang along with an earthy freshness from the cilantro much like an Indian chutney. The marinated tofu takes a quick dip in dessicated coconut before being pan roasted for additional flavor and a crispy exterior.


Ingredients: (Makes 16 pieces)
1 block (14 oz) of extra firm tofu
1 cup dessicated shredded coconut

For marinade:
½ cup packed fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp thick yogurt
2-3 Tbsp water
½ tsp turmeric powder (optional, but recommended for it’s anti-inflammatory properties)
Salt (to taste)
½ green chili pepper (optional)
½ tsp honey (optional)

Drain the tofu block and slice lengthwise about ½ inch thick. Cut it further into triangles or squares based on your preference. I got 16 triangular pieces from one block of tofu. Using paper towels gently squeeze out as much water as possible from the tofu slices.

Make the marinade by combining all ingredients and pureeing in a blender or food processor. Add water a tablespoon at a time until you get a thin paste. Coat the tofu pieces with the marinade and let them sit for at least half hour (preferably longer). Cook the tofu with the marinate in the microwave on high for 5-8 minutes until marinade is reduced but still not completely dry (alternatively you could bake it at 400 F for ~15 minutes). This step helps make the tofu firmer.


Spread the dessicated coconut on a plate. Press down a piece of the tofu in the coconut, flip it and coat the other side as well.


Cook the coated tofu in a nonstick pan over low heat until the coconut is golden brown, then flip and cook the other side. You could use some oil if desired, but the combination of low heat and non-stick pan could let you get by without any oil.


Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce, or thin out some marinade to make a sauce! This tofu can also be served over a bed of rice or salad drizzled with some marinade as a dressing. To add a sweet and sour component, serve it with this delicious mango relish!


Other tofu recipes you might like:
Crispy tofu in peanut-based marinade

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