Tofu is one of those ingredients that strikes fear in those who haven’t been introduced to its amazing versatility. I grew up with it, so it’s as familiar to me as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is for most kids in the U.S. I’m not a vegetarian, yet I love pretty much any dish that has tofu in it.
My mom browns the outside and stuffs it with a combination of pork and shrimp or crab with tree ear mushrooms and cellophane noodles, then braises it in a salty and sweet gingery tomato sauce. She also makes a heart warming tofu and chive soup.
Next time you’re at a Thai restaurant, be brave and order it in place of chicken, pork, beef, or seafood in any dish on the menu and I bet you’ll be surprised how delicious it really is. My favorite way to eat it is with Thai Drunken Noodles.
Sadly though, over 90% of soybeans planted in the U.S. are genetically modified, so I try to limit my intake of it these days outside of my own kitchen.
This dish was created using organic firm tofu which is readily found in nicer grocery stores in my area. I also had a sad and lonely stalk of lemongrass that has been waiting to be used and some leftover coconut milk in the fridge. Such were the inspirations for this bold and spicy dish that is neither Thai, Vietnamese, or Indian, but a combination of all three.
Enjoy it over some jasmine, brown or basmati rice or over rice noodles.
Ginger Lemongrass Tofu in Coconut Garam Masala Sauce
*I try to use organic, eco-ganic or responsibly farmed ingredients as much as possible
1 Tbsp lemongrass (bottom part only), sliced
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
14 oz. container organic firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes and drained thoroughly on paper towels
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1/2 cup whole basil leaves (packed)
1 tomato, chopped
1 jalapeño, sliced (optional)
Using a food processor (mini food processor if available), blend the lemongrass, garlic and ginger until they are almost a paste. You will need to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula several times.
Melt the coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the lemongrass, garlic and ginger paste, as well as the 1 Tbsp of Garam Masala. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the garlic just starts to brown. Give the tofu cubes an extra pat to dry them out and add them to the pan. Gently mix the tofu with the spices and allow the tofu to soak them in for about 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the coconut milk, chicken broth and fish sauce. Cook the sauce down by half, then add the whole basil leaves, chopped tomato and sliced jalapeño (optional). Cook for 1 minute more. Serve over your choice of rice or noodles.