Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tamarind Lentils and Millet

Recently, I made my way to the local Indian grocery store. I came home with chickpea flour (besan), black salt, tamarind concentrate, and a ginormous bag of cumin. I knew I had seen recipes using tamarind, so I was off to my cookbooks for research. The result was these delicious Tamarind Lentils (also from Veganomicon). Tamarind is a tropical fruit used often in Latin American and Asian cooking. You're probably most familiar with it as an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. Tamarind is tart, somewhat like a cross between lime juice and molasses. I ate the lentils over a bed of millet.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fried Tofu

I've been fooling around with tofu for about a year now, and I think I'm finally ready to commit. This recipe uses frozen and thawed tofu. Freezing the tofu makes it chewier. I've heard the texture of frozen tofu described as spongy before, and it really is freakishly spongy. Squeeze it with your hand and tofu juice shoots out. Let go and the tofu resumes it's shape. Freezing tofu adds an extra step, but if you pop it in the freezer still in the package when you get home from the grocery store and move it to the fridge the night before you want to cook with it, it's really not that difficult.

This recipe claims to be "KFC" tofu, and I don't know about that. But it sure is crispy and yummy dipped in ketchup. That's good enough for me. And I think I've moved past my fear of frying!

1 t salt or seasoned salt
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t black pepper
dash cayenne
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c nooch (optional)
1/4 c prepared mustard
2 T baking powder
1/2 c water
1 lb frozen and thawed tofu
oil for frying

Mix together the first 7 ingredients in one bowl. In a second bowl, mix together mustard and water. Add 1/3 c of the flour mixture to the mustard mixture. Mix the baking powder in with the remainder of the flour mixture. Cut the tofu into slices. Dip each slice in the wet mixture and then the dry mixture. Fry in oil until golden brown, about five minutes total.