Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jerk Tofu & Vegetables with Indo-Caribbean Greens

Sprouted super firm tofu earns major bonus points at Cafe Drake HRV for its enhanced nutritional value and ease of prep; this type of tofu doesn't have to be pressed and drained before proceeding with a recipe. Several brands are available everywhere, from natural foods stores to your local supermarket to Trader Joe's.

Our Indian-inspired side dish of sauteed greens is comprised of kale and radish greens plucked from the garden. Any sort of leafy green vegetable will work just as well - Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens - but the tougher varieties need a longer cooking time.

Before the chopped leafy greens are added to the pan, dried red chilies and kali jeeri and nigella seeds are sizzled in a bit of hot oil. If you don't have kali jeeri in your cabinet, cumin seeds are a fine replacement. If you don't have nigella seeds, also known as kalonji, proceed without them. The recipe will taste just fine but lack the characteristic flavor and scent of nigella seeds, a spice which has no substitute.

Arabella is excited by the aromas of jerk tofu!

"Um, I'm waiting . . ."


For a Jamaican theme meal, serve the jerk tofu and vegetables with rice and peas.


JERK TOFU AND VEGETABLES, THE EASY WAY OUT

Begin with 1 16-oz. block of super-firm sprouted tofu or extra-firm tofu. Blot dry with a kitchen towel and cut into 1-2" cubes. Peel and cut into long slices 2-3 carrots. Quarter two small onions. Slice thickly  1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper.

Mix in a 1-gallon freezer bag 1 T. vegetable or coconut oil with 3 t. GRACE jerk seasoning (we use the jar labeled Hot). Add the tofu and veggies to the bag and gently agitate so that all is covered with the marinade. Don't press too hard however or the tofu may crumble. Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour or as long as overnight if refrigerated.

When ready to enjoy, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the tofu and vegetables, in a single layer, on  a large baking sheet or two smaller ones. Don't worry about crowding too much and don't even think of leaving a drop of the marinade behind in the freezer bag.

Roast for about 25-35 minutes, stirring the tofu and veggies a couple of times while cooking.

When ready, the jerk tofu/vegetables can be enjoyed hot, with rice and peas, at room temperature or even cold. At Cafe Drake HRV we nestle chilled leftovers inside pita bread for picnic sandwiches, moistened with a spoon or two of a mild vinaigrette.


INDO-CARIBBEAN GREENS

Begin by washing, rinsing and cutting into thin slivers a large bunch of leafy greens; here, we used about 1/2 kale and 1/2 long, bushy radish greens (ideally, greens from daikon or another large radish). Set aside while you heat 1 T. of oil in a wide skillet over a medium-high flame.

When the oil is very hot toss in 1/2 t. kali jeeri seeds and 1/4 t. nigella seeds (also known as kalonji). Cook for a few seconds and then add 1 whole dried red chili. Cook for a few more seconds or until the chili is darkening.

Now add all at once the chopped greens, 1-2 minced hot green chilies, a pinch or two of turmeric powder and at least 1/4 t. salt. Toss well, cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir now and then - and add bits of water as needed to prevent sticking or burning - for about 5 minutes.

Remove the heat and add a splash of fresh lemon juice. Cover the pan again and let rest, off heat, for another 5 minutes before serving hot. Add more salt if needed.


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