By Life Positive
Rohini Singh is a syndicated columnist who writes for The Tributes, Indian Express and The Hindustan Times. She is also the author of The Wonderful World of Indian Cookery, Party Games for all Ages and Fun Cooking for Children.
Low in cholesterol and calories, high in protein and vitamins, tofu, also known as bean curd or soy cheese, is one healthy food you can happily overeat without experiencing any pangs of guilt. You have probably noticed it floating in your hot and sour soup—but that is not all you can do with tofu. You can marinate it and then pan-fry or grill it; you can scramble it, much as you would paneer or cottage cheese, and eat it with chapatti or Indian wheat breads or on toast; you can stuff it into paranthas or fried wheat breads or sandwiches or your can add it, for a burst of good health, to a raw salad or cooked vegetable. You can even bake it, with mushrooms and capsicums, for an unusual accompaniment to a meal. Tofu is available in health food outlets and some upmarket stores.
250 gm tofu, cut into cubes
1 green chili, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2-1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup tomato ketchup
A few tsp chili/garlic sauce (optional)
2 tbsp oil
Method: Put a thick-bottomed pan onto gentle heat. Pour in oil. After a few seconds, add chili and onion. Sauté till the onion begins to brown. Add garlic and cumin. As soon as the cumin begins to darken, add ketchup, chili or garlic sauce, vinegar and soy sauce. Raise the heat and let the mixture come to a gentle boil.
Meanwhile, mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with a few tablespoons of water. Add it to the simmering sauce along with as much water (probably 1/2-3/4 cup) as you need to make a smooth consistency.
Cook for a few minutes more, stirring continuously, and then add the tofu cubes. Simmer for another few minutes.
To make the dish more substantial, add boiled peas, potatoes, or even a combination of vegetables.
GOOD-HEALTH TOFU SALAD
250 gm tofu, cut into small cubes
1 fresh medium-sized lettuce
1 large cucumber
1 large capsicum
A handful of sprouts
5 tsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Method: Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Peel and cut cucumber into cubes. Chop capsicum into tiny bits. Peel and chop apple into small pieces. Peel an orange, remove the tough outer threads and as many seeds as you can. Cut orange into bits. Put these ingredients in a bowl. Add sprouts and tofu.
Prepare the dressing with lemon juice and honey. Add salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve immediately.
For an interesting variation, add pineapple instead of an orange. You could also add boiled potatoes.
500 gm tofu
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp honey or sugar
1 large capsicum, sliced
4 onions, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, finely sliced or crushed
1/2 kg tomatoes, unpeeled, pureed
1 pack tomato puree
A generous pinch of oregano
Salt, pepper, green or red chili to taste
2 tbsp oil
Method: Place tofu on a large plate or chopping board, tilted at an angle that will best allow excess moisture to drain away. Keep for 30 minutes, and then slice thickly, lightly butter a baking dish and put the tofu slices in it in layers.
Sauce: Gently heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or karhai or wok. Add the onions, using some of the green stems too. Add garlic, sauté for a few minutes. Add tomato puree and seasoning. Add 12 cup water. Cook for 10 minutes, or till the sauce has a thick, glossy consistency. Add mushrooms, cook for another 10 minutes. Take off the fire and stir in honey or sugar.
Pour the sauce over the tofu. Top with capsicum and cheese. Bake in a preheated oven (3500 F/1800C) for 20-30 minutes or till the dish is heated through and the cheese has melted
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