This summer, I spent some time finally exploring the grill, and I am all convinced about the wisdom of cooking outdoors on a hot and humid day. It offers a perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, while getting dinner on the table.
I personally think one of the best ways to enjoy tofu is to slather it with a robust well spiced marinade and then grill it. In general, I have been busy fussing around with my new cookbook, and having the option to simply throw something on the grill, all prepping done has been a life savor.
The smoke infuses an extra layer of flavor to something that would otherwise be a mundane creation.
The marinade for this tofu kebab is a little twisted as well, as it began from the relics of an early vegan cooking class, so no yogurt, tomatoes, coconut milk, lime and tandoori masala. I have also realized simply cutting the tofu block into thinner rectangular slices rather than cubes works just fine.
No fuss of skewering and less turning and more smoky surface area. It is a grown up version of a recipe that I had developed for a cooking class a few years ago. In fact, it turns out that the young college kid that I had created this recipe for has also grown up, I heard from her a few weeks ago and she told me about her toddler who apparently loves this recipe, thus bringing me down memory lane and reviving this recipe. Despite its simplicity, the flavors of ginger and chilies are quite assertive and work well with the mild mannered tofu.
The key to this recipe, is the basting mix, so, do not skip it. When cooking the tofu, it is best to let it cook for a good six to seven minutes undisturbed on each side, to allow the tofu to turn crisp and well done, also since tofu is very delicate to handle when soft, it is a good idea to let it cook and turn crisp before fussing with it, or it might break. Now if you do not wish to brave the outdoor grill this can be done indoors and I certainly will be doing that in winter. To cook this indoors, instead of using the grill, bake the tofu at about 375 degrees for 15 minutes and finish off by broiling it for a couple of minutes. Just make sure to baste it a few times while cooking.
Smoky Tandoori Tofu Steaks
Prep Time: (3 to 4 hours)
Cook Time: (20 minutes on the grill)
Smoky Tandoori Tofu Steaks
- 1/3 cup thick coconut milk
- 2 medium sized tomatoes (quartered)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 2 green chilies (such as serranos)
- 1 tablespoon tandoori masala
- 2lb extra-firm tofu (cut into slabs)
For the basting
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dry fenugreek leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chat masala
- Thinly sliced red onion rings
- Lime or lemon slices
- Chopped Cilantro
|Place the coconut milk, tomatoes, ginger, salt, green chilies and tandoori masala in the blender and blend to a smooth puree.|
|Place the tofu slices in a large bowl and marinate in this mixture for about 4 hours (note, if you wish you can just keep this overnight, there is no magic to the number of hours).|
|Mix the olive oil, fenugreek leaves and chaat masala in a bowl and have a pastry brush ready for brushing the tofu.|
|Turn on your grill, brush the tofu slabs with the basting mixture and cook for about 7 minutes, baste the other side and turn, you can occasionally brush the exposed side with the basting mixture as well. Cook the second side for 7 minutes as well. The time will differ based on the heat and grill being used, however the objective is to get the tofu lightly crisp without drying it out, with some grill marks and darker spots.|
|Carefully remove from the grill onto a serving plate.|
|Serve garnished with onions, lime slices and chopped cilantro.|
Rinku Bhattacharya is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years.
She is the author of the award-winning cookbook the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, which highlights and offers many simple recipes from Eastern India. Her second cookbook, Spices and Seasons, offers a contemporary and practical take on Indian home cooking. Rinku can be found on Facebook,Twitter, and Pinterest. Rinku lives in Westchester County, NY with her husband and two children.
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