Tag Archives: sweet & spicy

Red Curried Tofu

16 Jun

Red curried tofuI hosted a lunch meeting last week and one of the guests was a gluten-free almost-vegan (well, maybe she’d eat one egg, she told me). I figured my best bet would be an Asian vegan dish.

I got this recipe from a magazine – which one I do not know, possibly the late, lamented Cooking Light – and I really like it. It’s fast and easy to make, tasty and healthy. According to the recipe, it has only 292 calories per serving, 7 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of fiber so it’s a good Weight Watchers choice. We don’t like cilantro, so we substitute parsley.

This dish is very flavorful and nicely spicy. The heat comes from the Chinese chili paste, so if you don’t like it hot, use less (or even none) and if you like a lot of heat, use a little more.

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked long-grain white or brown rice
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2½ cups onion, sliced vertically
1 cup yellow or red bell pepper strips
1½ tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. honey
½ tsp. Chinese chili paste with garlic
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 12-15 oz. package firm or extra-firm reduced fat tofu
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro (or parsley)
¼ cup chopped dry-roasted cashews

Directions:

Drain the tofu and wrap it in a clean dish towel. Place a dish or bowl on top to weight it down slightly and leave it while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Cook the rice as you normally would or according to the package directions.

While the rice is cooking, in a small bowl, combine the curry powder, coriander, turmeric and salt. In another small bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey and chili paste.

Heat sesame and vegetable oils in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper strips and sauté about 4 minutes until tender. Stir in curry, coriander, turmeric and salt, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, then the soy sauce mixture.

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and add to the skillet. Stir well so that the every piece of tofu is coated with sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two minutes or until thoroughly heated.

(If you want to prepare this ahead of time, do the tofu mixture first. Reheat it just before you’re ready to serve.)

Serve over rice, and sprinkle the chopped cilantro (or parsley) and chopped cashews on top.

Serves 4

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Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken

15 Oct

Chicken-Sweet&Spicy

I clipped this recipe from the New York Times about a month ago and made it for one of the recent holiday dinners.

New York Times recipes are never what you’d call easy, but this one is complicated only because you need to measure out a lot of ingredients. Simplify your life by getting all the ingredients ready the day before you want to serve the dish, and marinate the chicken overnight. The actual cooking is very easy.

I used a little less salt than the recipe calls for since I use kosher chicken, which retains some residual salt from the kashering process.

I’m not sure if you really have to go to the trouble of blanching the lemon slices; seems to me you could just throw them in with the marinade, especially if you’re letting the dish sit overnight. This is what I will probably do next time I make it, but his time I followed the directions.

I doubled the recipe — didn’t seem worth the effort to make the dish for just the two of us, and we were having company for the holiday. I had to use two gallon-size Ziploc bags to marinate everything, but it was easy enough to put one chicken in each bag with half the marinade and half the carrots.

The next morning, turn the chicken over in the bowl, or give the Ziploc bag a little squeeze and turn it upside down a few times to make sure everything is getting marinated evenly.

The original recipe said the chicken would take 20 to 30 minutes for the breasts to brown and 30 to 40 minutes for the legs and wings, and suggested removing the pieces as they got done. I found the roasting took a little longer — and I know from experience that chicken will brown much more nicely if you baste it a few times while it’s roasting.

Instead of spooning the carrots over the chicken, I decided to serve them separately — mainly because I didn’t have a large enough serving plate! The carrots worked well as a side dish.

Ingredients:

1 lemon
3 Tbs. lemon juice
3 Tbs. orange juice
4 Tbs. olive oil
1½ tsp. whole-grain spicy mustard
3 Tbs. honey
2½ Tbs. kosher salt
1 bay leaf
½ to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 4-pound chicken, cut up
3 cups sliced carrots (¼-inch slices)
1 onion, halved and then thinly sliced
⅔ cup sliced dates
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
¼ cup chopped toasted pistachios, for garnish

Directions:

Put a small pot of water on the stove to boil. Quarter the lemon lengthwise and remove any seeds. Thinkly slice crosswise into small wedges and add the lemon to the boiling water. Blanch for two minutes, then drain and cool.

In a saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, oil, mustard, honey, salt, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Cool.

Put the chicken into a large bowl or gallon-size Ziploc bag and add the cooled honey mixture. Add the carrots, onion, dates, thyme and lemon slices.

Turn the mixture several times to coat every piece of chicken. Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, but preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 425 degrees (or 400 for convection). Transfer all ingredients, including marinade, to a large pan with a rim. The chicken should be skin-side-up in a single layer. Roast, basting a few times, until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken and keep warm. Stir the carrots and continue roasting another 10 to 12 minutes.

Spoon the carrots over the chicken and top with the cilantro or parsley, sliced scallions and pistachios.

Serves 4 to 6