I grew up with the mindset that tofu could NEVER taste appealing. My mom’s cousins were vegetarians and I would always hear them speak about using tofu and soya chunks in different ways and though we were close.. I don’t ever recall ever having tofu until my adult years. Caribbean culinary culture is not remotely centered around tofu as most Asian countries and quite understandably so. We don’t produce tofu, so why would be be interested in it. If we were to speak about sea food, fish and ground provisions, then we could definitely shine!
4-5 cups cubed tofu
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon veg oil
1/2 cup water (or coconut milk)
2 birds eye pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
1 cups frozen peas/carrots/corn mix
1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
Optional – chopped cilantro or shado beni
* I used a medium tofu, so I placed it on a plate, covered with another plate and put a weight (large teacup with water) on it to ‘press’ some of the moisture out (about 1 hr). This will open up the pores of the tofu and allow it to really take on that rich curry flavor to enhance this overall.
Cube the tofu into 3/4 inch pieces… and prepare the other ingredients. Heat the oil on a medium flame and go in with the diced onion, crushed garlic and thyme. Turn the heat down to low and let it gently cook for 4 minutes.
With your heat still on low, add the curry powder ( I used my fav – Madras blend out of the Caribbean) and stir well – keep your heat on low. The goal here is to toast the curry and awaken all the spices which make up the blend.
It’s now time to go in with the birds eye pepper (any pepper you like or have and as much as you can handle) and chopped scallions. Cook for another minute or two before you add the cubed soya and stir well. You will notice that I used a nonstick pan as it allows me to cut back on the amount of oil I use.
Finally it’s time to go in with the star of the show – the cubed tofu. Stir well, then add all the other ingredients and (turn up the heat) bring to a boil.
This is a somewhat ‘dry’ curry – no gravy. So I turned the heat down to medium and allowed it to cook for about 6-8 minutes (uncovered). Taste for salt and adjust accordingly, remove the birds eye pepper (notice I left it whole – you can break them for HEAT) and top with some chopped shado beni (culantro) or cilantro.
I’ll be honest and say that I’m still not a fan of tofu (not even the milk), but this vegetarian curry is screaming with wonderful flavors. So I urge you to give it a try the next time you want to hit a Meatless Monday!