Pressed Tofu with Cabbage

This is another wonderful recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking. It is very satisfying. To press tofu, select a medium to firm tofu, place between two teatowels under a baking tray, and put something heavy on top, such as a tin of beans. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • around 100g pressed tofu (firm)
  • 225g cabbage (works well with brussels sprouts too)
  • 2 fresh hot green chillies
  • 1 punnet of mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger, cut into thin strips
  • 3 cloves of garlic, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry or shaohsing wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

METHOD:

  • Chop the ingredients as follows: 
    • Cut the tofu into julienne strips 4cm long
    • Core the cabbage and cut into fine strips
    • Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and slice into 1/2 cm slices
    • Cut the spring onions into 4cm lengths, and shred lengthways
    • Cut the green chillies into fine 4cm strips
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the wok over a  medium/high heat and fry the bean curd for about 10 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. 
  • Add the rest of the oil to the bowl, and add the ginger slices for 20 seconds, pressing into the side of the wok. Then add the garlic and fry for a further 15 seconds. 
  • Add the chillies, mushrooms and spring onions, and stir fry for 30 seconds before adding the shredded cabbage, and frying for a further minute. 
  • Add the wine, then the soy sauce, salt, sugar and sesame oil. Add each ingredient round the edge, and stir, before adding the next. After another minute add the bean-curd. 

The original recipe says to remove the ginger slices beforehand, but I can never find them, which is why I chop it up finely. 

Tofu and broccoli

Another outstanding and adaptable recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s book, Eastern Vegetarian Cooking.  Tofu and any of the cabbage family is very good. A top tip from the recipe book, after chopping the broccoli, freshen it in cold water until you need it. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 175ml stock
  • 1 tbs shaohsing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tps soy sauce 
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 spring onion
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into strips
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced into strips
  • 225g broccoli florets and stems, all about 4cm long
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • roughly 225g medium tofu, cut into 2cm cubes or thereabouts

METHOD: 

  • Put the cornflour in a cup or small jug, and add 50ml of the stock, and mix before adding the sherry, soy sauce, and sesame oil. 
  • Cut the spring onion into 4cm lengths and then shred lengthways into strips. 
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat, and when it is hot, add the ginger and garlic. Stir and fry for 10 seconds, then add the broccoli and spring onion. Continue to fry for around a minute. 
  • Add the rest of the stock, cover and simmer on medium/low for a minute until the broccoli is hot but still crisp. Lift the broccoli out with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. 
  • Turn the heat to low, and add the tofu, heating it through. Once it is hot, stir the cornflour mixture in the jug, to ensure it is well mixed, and then pour over the tofu. Mix very gently, and then return the broccoli to the pan. Continue to cook on low, stirring very gently, until the sauce is thick and everything is hot. 

Tofu in a spicy ginger sauce

I am home alone this week, and experimenting with ingredients. I was very pleased to find tofu in Creagorry Co-op recently, and this was the recipe that I tried tonight. It is very easy to prepare, and can be varied quite a bit. I’ll put all the variations in brackets. I got the basic recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking. I have the first edition, complete with stains and a burnt cover. Very authentic. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp cornflour (or Japanese arrowroot – kudzu)
  • 100 to 200ml vegetable stock (or beef stock)
  • 1 tsp chilli paste with soy bean (or sriracha +/- miso paste) 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, preferably Chinese thin soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (or Basra date syrup)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp dried ginger, added to the stock)
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced into rounds, including the greens
  • 1 block of bean curd (about 300g) cut into cubes – can be as large as 2cm cubes. 

METHOD:

  • Prepare the sauce. Put the cornflower into a bowl or jug, and mix in a little stock and stir out any lumps. Then add the rest of the stock, along with the chilli paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and sugar, and mix well. 
  • Make sure the other ingredients are fully prepared and lined up. 
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a wok (medium high) and then add the garlic and ginger, stirring and frying for 10 seconds. 
  • Add the spring onions. Stir and fry for 5 seconds. 
  • Add the tofu. Stir and fry for 1 minute
  • Add the sauce, turn the heat to low, stir gently and simmer until the sauce thickens. 

I served with steamed broccoli, toasted sesame seeds and noodles. 

Chickpeas and potatoes

I have no idea where I found this recipe, I think it dates back to student days in the 1980s. There are lots of notes and at least two totally different versions in my old recipe book. It works well with or without the potatoes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chipped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seed, ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tins of chickpeas (do not drain)
  • 1 tbsp amchoor or juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1cm cubes, and put into cold water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 fresh green chillies, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger)

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat, until beginning to brown, around 10 minutes
  • Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric, stir, and reduce the heat
  • Add the tomato paste, stir to combine and then add the chickpeas with their liquid from the tin, and around 200ml water, and the amchoor, and paprika. Bring to a simmer and cook for around 10 minutes. 
  • At this point, it may be wise to set the pan aside for a day or too, for the flavour to develop. 
  • To serve, drain and pat dry the potato cubes. Fry in oil for 10 minutes over a medium to high heat, stirring. 
  • Stir in the ginger and chillies, and then the fried potatoes, and serve. 

Leeks and carrots cooked in olive oil

This is a lovely lemony dish, good as a side-serving with sausages and mash. It could be served at room temperature with bread for a light lunch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g leeks, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut in half lengthways then thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 240 ml hot water
  • 1 tsp sugar, or date syrup
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • In a wide heavy frying-pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the onions and carrots for 3 minutes or so. Then add the leeks and rice, and stir to combine. 
  • Add the hot water, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper, and stir again. 
  • Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for around 20 minutes. Set aside to cool with the lid on. 

This is good garnished with chopped parsley. 

 

Baby carrots in cumin and lemon dressing

I was a bit late in thinning my carrots this year, so I have a lot of finger-sized carrots. I used a Moroccan-style dressing for a delicious side-dish. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g finger-sized carrots
  • 1/2 tsp toasted ground cumin
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • juice of around 1/2 small lemon
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • a tiny bit of honey, to taste
  • coriander leaves
  • Salt

METHOD:

  • Clean the carrots and boil them for around 5 minutes, until tender. Set aside to cool a bit
  • In a pestle and mortar, crush the clove of garlic with a pinch of salt and the cumin, then add the lemon juice, honey and olive oil. 
  • Pour the dressing over the warm carrots and coriander leaves, mixing well. 

Roast Celeriac, Turkish style.

The last celeriac from the garden, I sewed some more seed for next winter/spring. I roasted it with orange juice and carrots. It was really good. The seeds are tiny, for such a robust vegetable. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks about 1 by 1 by 2 centimetres
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, split lengthways and cut into chunks about 2 centimetres long
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • Grated rind and juice of one large orange
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp grated black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh dill to garnish. 

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to 180C
  • In a large roasting dish, put all the ingredients except the dill, and stir to mix
  • Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes, stirring a couple of times during the cooking.
  • Mix in the chopped dill before serving. 

 

Broccoli and mushroom stir-fry with black bean sauce

This is a good basic stir-fry recipe, and you can use just about any vegetables. Finely sliced courgette, mange-tout peas, slivers of red and green pepper, all work well. At the moment the co-op in Creagorry seems to have lots of fresh egg noodles in the reduced section for vegetables, so we used those. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450g egg noodles
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g broccoli
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 200ml vegetable stock (I used marigold stock)
  • 2 tbsp black bean sauce 
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2cm cube of fresh ginger (approx)
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry such as Tio pepe, or Shaohsing wine. 

METHOD:

Prepare the ingredients:

  • Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the instructions (some noodles are sold ready-cooked) – rinse in cold water.
  • Chop the carrots into thin slices, cut on a slant. Cut the broccoli into small florets, and the stems into strips 5cm long. Wipe the mushrooms clean, and slice with the stems still on. 
  • Finely chop the ginger and garlic
  • In a small bowl, put in the cornflour, then slowly add the stock, and mix to a paste. Add the black bean sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. If it has gone lumpy, you can remedy this with a soup blender. 

Start the cooking

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over a medium flame. When it is hot add the garlic and ginger, and stir a couple of times. 
  • Add the mushrooms, broccoli and carrots, and 3/4 tsp salt, and stir and fry until the vegetables are all hot, it doesn’t take long. 
  • Pour in the sherry, cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for a minute, so the vegetables are very lightly steamed in hot sherry. 
  • Uncover, and add the cornflour/black bean mixture. Turn the heat up a little and add the noodles. Keep stirring and mixing so that the noodles are hot and the sauce is thickened. 

An alternative is to fry the noodles separately, treating them like a large pancake in the bottom of a frying pan. Fry without stirring for 3-4 minutes, and then when the noodles are crispy on the bottom, flip over and fry the other side. When serving, put the noodle pancake on a plate and pour the vegetables and sauce over the top. 

 

Potato, cauliflower and coconut curry

For when your husband comes home with a random cauliflower. It is a longish list of ingredients, but it is very very good. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small to medium cauliflower
  • 100g creamed coconut
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100g tomatoes
  • 2.5cm cube of fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2.5cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 hot green chillies
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 4 eggs (optional – leave these out for a vegan version)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala 

METHOD:

Prepare all the ingredients.

  • Boil the potatoes, then cool, peel and chop them into 2cm dice.
  • Separate the cauliflower into small florets, about 2cm across at the top. Cook the florets for a minute in boiling water, then drain and rinse in cold water. 
  • Pour 500ml boiling water onto the creamed coconut, and stir so it is all melted in. 
  • Peel and chop the tomatoes. 
  • chop the ginger and garlic, and put them into a small blender with a spoonful of water, and blend until smooth.
  • Finely chop the onion
  • Finely chop the chilli peppers
  • Boil, cool and peel the eggs and cut in half. 

Next, start assembling the dish. 

  • In a wok or large deep frying pan, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the fenugreek seeds and then the cinnamon stick. 
  • After a couple of seconds, add the chopped onion, and turn the heat to medium, stirring and cooking for a couple of minutes. 
  • Add the ginger and garlic mixture, and the chopped chilli peppers. Cook for another minute. 
  • Add the tomatoes, turmeric and curry leaves. Cook for another couple of minutes. 
  • Add about a third of the coconut milk, turn the heat to low, and simmer. As the sauce reduces, keep an eye and stir from time to time so it doesn’t stick. 
  • Add the potatoes, cauliflower, 1.5 tsp salt, another third of the coconut milk, stir and bring to a simmer. 
  • Add the rest of the coconut milk and the lemon juice, stir and then put the eggs in carefully, spooning the sauce over the eggs. Cover and simmer for a few more minutes. 
  • Sprinkle with garam masala before serving. 

This is good with flat breads such as chapati or roti. 

Carrots roasted with pomegranate molasses and harissa

We live on a small island, and although our local shops generally do very well for range and price of stock, some ingredients are hard to come by. I have some rather exotic recipe books, and so I have become better at substituting and messing around with recipes to make them fit. 

Pomegranate molasses adds a fruity sharpness to the dish, and helps the dressing to stick to the carrots. The harissa is hot and fragrant at the same time. 

This time, I had some random carrots, so I turned to Ottolenghi’s book, Simple, and adapted one of his ideas, and I made this. I served it with bread, cheese, and an aubergine dish. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rose harissa (or ordinary harissa)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or 50/50 melted butter and oil)
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 400g carrot batons
  • salt
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 220C
  • In a small bowl, mix the cumin, honey, harissa, oil and molasses with a good pinch of salt. It should be the consistency of mayonnaise. 
  • Add the carrot batons, and stir to coat in the mixture
  • Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and spread out the carrots. Roast them for 15 minutes or so, until they are beginning to brown but still have some ‘bite’ to them.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves.