Tag Archives: tamari

Tofu Mushroom Poke

15 May

Poke is not something you used to do on Facebook…  it’s a salad served raw in Hawaii.  From the looks of it, it’s the Hawaiian ceviche and the correct pronunciation is Poke /poʊˈkeɪ/.

When I traveled to Peru, I had delicious tofu ceviche and white mushroom ceviche.  Both vegan, and both tasted as authentic as ceviche made with fish.  So I decided our Hawaiian ceviche, or poke, would include both tofu and mushrooms. To add more interest, color and crunch, I thought I would include some broccoli florets into the mix.

This is a simple dish with many components coming together.  Feel free to make some parts the night before you’re serving this and finish it off the day of with the broccoli and tossing it all together in the marinade.  This way the tofu marinates overnight and the broccoli is served fresh – the best of both worlds.

 

Typical Hawaiian Dish from KarmaFree Cooking

TOFU MUSHROOM POKE

2 blocks of extra-firm tofu

1 pint of cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 bunch of broccoli, florets only cut in half or thirds

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

2 shallots, finely minced

4-6 scallions, thinly sliced

About ¼ cup Garlic and Herb Seasonings

3 garlic cloves, grated

2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup tamari

2 tbs toasted sesame oil

The juice of 2 limes

Salt to taste

 

  1. Slice each tofu block in 4 slices.  Place slices in a baking sheet lined with 2-3 paper towels.  Cover with 2-3 additional paper towels, top with an additional baking sheet and weigh with something heavy.  Drain weighed tofu slices for about 30-60 minutes.
  2. After tofu slices are drained, season liberally with Garlic and Herbs seasoning.   Cook tofu slices in a dry non-stick skillet.  After you’ve placed them on the skillet, leave them for a while without touching them.  The crust they will develop will prevent them from sticking to the skillet and make it easier to turn them.  Sear them on both sides.  Set aside to cool off.
  3. Cut each slice of tofu in 12 pieces – cut into 3 pieces on the long side.  Cut those 3 strips in half and then those halves in half again.   Set aside.
  4. Mix the marinate in a container with a lid that you can cover and marinate tofu for a while – tamari, olive oil, sesame oil, shallots, scallions, grated garlic, grated ginger, lime juice.  Add tofu slices to marinate.  Add shredded carrots.  Marinate for about 4 hours or even overnight in the fridge.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Blanch broccoli florets for about 1 minute, until they turn bright green.  Scoop them out of the boiling water and shock them in a bowl filled with salted ice water.  This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color.  Working in batches will help you control the blanching process and avoid any over cooking.   When broccoli is cooled, transfer to a colander for the florets to drain well and dry.
  6. About 2 hours before serving, combine marinated tofu/carrots mix with quartered mushrooms, cooked broccoli florets and sliced scallions.  Toss well to combine and allow marinate all together.  Toss every 20 minutes to make sure all components are marinated.

Serve at room temperature.

 

If you enjoyed this recipe…  you can check out the other dishes we served at the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival here in a previous post serving as anchor for all the recipes.

Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

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Cashew and Tofu Stir-Fry

4 May

I’ve always loved Chinese food.  Ever since I was little my parents have been taken us to Chinese restaurants regularly…  past favorites were always Sweet and Sour (fill in the blank), Pepper (fill in the blank), BBQ (fill in the blank)…

When I first moved to NYC, I went to lunch with my dad and he suggested I should try the Chicken with Cashew Nuts…  Cashew Nuts!!!  What are those??  Well a few minutes later, I was a convert for life.  And after that day that became my usual order at Chinese restaurants.

When I decided to become vegetarian, I would order at restaurants Chicken with Cashew Nuts WITHOUT the Chicken.  It was the simplest way for me to describe to Chinese waiters that I wanted sautéed vegetables with cashew nuts.  I even ordered it so often at a restaurant close to my former place of employment that I stopped describing it – just ordered the usual – Sautéed Broccoli with Onions, Peppers, Carrots and Cashew Nuts.

I just looooooove the combination of soy-based sauce with the crunch of the nuts…  This is the version I make at home.  This version has tofu, but most of the time I leave it out.  The protein in the nuts is enough for me.

 

 cashew-stri-fry

 

CASHEW AND TOFU STIR FRY

1 medium onion, chopped into medium sized pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped into medium sized pieces
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced thin using a vegetable peeler
1 tbs canola oil
Canola Oil Spray
Marinated Tofu slices
¼ cup tamari sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
The juice of 1 lime
1 handful of roasted cashews
1 cup of whole grain basmati rice – to serve

 

For the Marinated Tofu:

  1. Take half a block of Extra Firm Tofu and slice it into ¼” slices.    I take a baking sheet, line it with 2-3 layers of paper towel, place the tofu slices on top of the paper towel, cover them with 2-3 more layers of paper towels, top with another baking sheet and apply some weight on top.  Press it for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. In a medium skillet, sprayed with canola   medium-high heat we need to get the tofu pieces golden.  Just place them on the skillet until they get some color.
  3. While that is happening, mix together in a shallow pyrex dish the tamari sauce, the lime juice and a bit of water.  Dip the tofu pieces in the tamari/lime mixture and let them soak the seasoning.  Soak them for about 15-20 minutes and set them aside.

 

Now on to the stir-fry…

  1. Prep the vegetables while the tofu pieces are marinating.
  2. In a medium-sized skillet, over medium-high heat again, heat up the canola oil.  Add the onions, peppers and carrots and sauté them until they begin to cook, but are still crunchy.  Add the tofu pieces so they can dry up a bit and get hot.  Stir everything together.
  3. Mix the leftover tamari/lime mixture with the cornstarch.  If you have little sauce left (less than ¼ cup) just add a bit more tamari or lime juice, whatever you prefer.
  4. After a few minutes, add the cashews to the skillet.  Mix well the tamari/cornstarch mixture and add to the skillet.  The sauce will thicken as it heats up.  When the sauce gets somewhat thick, turn the stove off.  Don’t let the sauce get too thick on you.

Serve over whole-grain basmati rice.

Creamy Tamari Dressing

13 May

In keeping with the international flavor of these last posts, I want to share with you a salad dressing that uses up any leftover tamari or soy sauce you use to marinate – in my case, it was tofu.

I am a firm believer in not wasting.  So, if the recipe calls for ¼ cup of something and that would leave a tiny bit left in the jar… dump it all in.  You should not either save a tiny bit that probably is not enough for something else in the future, nor throw it in the garbage either.  So when I marinated some tofu pieces the other day and was left with about a good 1-2 tbs of tamari left on the little dish, I decided to use it to make a dressing.

Many people come to me asking me for simple salad dressed ideas… salad dressings is even one of the offerings I have in my try-out culinary business, believe it or not.  People want something healthier than the bottled, preservatives filled options in the market these days.  But apparently, they are stumped when it comes to mixing it up.

Hey, oil and vinegar with some salt and pepper is the ultimate dressing…  mixing ip different kinds of oils and vinegars will give you different results.  But what if you’re into creamy dressings?  The solution is Mayonnaise.  Veggie Mayonnaise in our case.   Pay attention kids, because this will happen really quick…

 

 

CREAMY TAMARI DRESSING

¼ cup Veggie Mayo
A good squirt of ketchup
1-2 tbs tamari sauce
A squirt of honey
1 tbs lemon juice
A pinch of garlic salt or garlic powder

 

  1. Mix everything up in a small bowl and spoon it over your favorite salad.

 

My salad was a simple lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad. The dressing is creamy and a bit salty and tangy.  Great partner for any stir fry or Asian rice dish.

 

Tostón Sandwich

19 Mar

I am sooooo proud of Iván Avilés…  he was the winner in the Comfort Foods episode of Ultimate Recipe Showdown, a new Food Network cooking competition where regular cooks, just like you and me, compete to see who has the Ultimate recipe in a series of categories.

And why I could be proud of Iván specifically??  He’s Boricua (another word for Puerto Rican, derived from Borinquen, the original indigenous name of Puerto Rico) and he won with his Boricua Plantain Sandwich.  It’s not vegetarian, but it did remind me of a sandwich my friend Tania taught me how to make a few years back.  I was so surprised to see Iván use TOSTONES as the “bread” for the sandwich, something I had only seen Tania do.

Tostones (which are also called patacones in South America) are twice fried mashed green plantains.  Tostones are a staple in Puerto Rican cooking and for people trying to “get away from the carbs” are a great bread substitution in this sandwich.  But less carbs does not mean less fat – I did tell you these are TWICE FRIED, no?

Let me give you the play by play to making my vegetarian version of the Tostón Sandwich…

 

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 TOSTON SANDWICH

1 green plantain, peeled
2 small strips of firm tofu – you can definitely used extra firm here, but never the silken kind
1/4 onion, sliced
Garlic Salt
1/4 cup Tamari Sauce
Ketchup
Canola Oil for frying

 

  1. Take the tofu pieces and press them in between 2-3 good paper towels or napkins (I use Bounty) to drain away most of the liquid.  I place then in between 2 small baking sheets and weigh using something heavy.  I change the paper towel at least once.  meanwhile…
  2. Peel the green plantain.  Remember that green plantains, just like green bananas, have a sap (mancha).  Remember to oil the knife you’re using to peel the plantain so the sap does not adhere to the knife.  Follow the method I showed you for the green bananas here.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat about 1 cup of canola oil over medium high heat.   Just make sure the skillet is wide enough that will fit your plantain.  If your plantain is on the small side, by all means, use a smaller skillet.  You need enough oil to cover the plantains halfway, more or less. 
  4. Cut the plantain in half lengthwise, making two long halves.
  5. Make sure the oil is hot enough.  Rachael Ray taught me to dip the end of a wooden spoon into the oil.  If the oil bubbles around the spoon, the oil is ready.  I love this tip.
  6. Fry the plantain halves for about 5 minutes.  What you’re looking for is to cook the plantain, add some color to it, but without getting it crispy.
  7. Take the partially fried plantain halves out of the oil and using either two heavy plates or two small baking sheets, smash them flat.   If using baking sheet, place a kitchen towel on top so the heat does not transfer to your hand.  Keep the oil in the hot stove, you will use it again.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of this, but I was by myself making this and I could not smash and photograph at the same time.  This is the already-smashed plantain…
  8. After smashing the plantains, re-immerse the smashed plantain halves in the hot oil to finish frying. 
  9.  

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  10. This time, the end result should be a golden and crispy plantain halve – this is a Toston.  Tostones typically are made the exact same way with the exception that instead of being cut lengthwise, you cut the plantain in 1 inch round slices.
  11. Drain the finished tostones on a paper towel and sprinkle some garlic salt to season them.  Keep the aside while you make the fillings.  They need to cool off a bit if you don’t want to burn the roof of your mouth.
  12. Drain the skillet of the hot oil CAREFULLY and in that same hot skillet with some of the remaining oil on it,  place the drained tofu pieces and the onion slices.  The object of this is to smother the onions and to cook the tofu and for it to dry out a bit.  Add some garlic salt to the onions to season them.
  13. When tofu slices have gained some yellowy color (they will not change color very dramatically), dunk them in the tamari sauce for a few minutes.  Return them to the skillet to finish “frying”.
  14. Now we assemble – Place the wider tostón half on a plate, place tofu pieces, squirt some ketchup, place smothered onions, squirt some extra ketchup and top with the remaining tostón half. 

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Mmmmmm!!!!!

 

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I have also made this with fried white cheese instead of the tamari-marinated tofu.  It tastes delicious!!!  If you fry the tostones in hot enough oil and drain them, they will be crunchy, but not oily.

I had not done this sandwich in a long time… so I thank Iván and the Ultimate Recipe Showdown for reminding me.   And even it’s not vegetarian, you can taste an adaptation of Iván’s sandwich at your local TGIFriday’s restaurant.  They’re made with sweet ripe plantains, which is a different “ball game”, but still you can come out and support my fellow Boricua!!!

 

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