My first post yesterday seemed to go pretty well and thanks to everyone that provided feedback. Today’s post will complete the run-down from my Thai feast this past Sunday. In keeping with my goal of working with some ingredients that are new to me that meal, I prepared a dish based on a recipe I found on Slashfood for Green Beans & Tofu in a Thai Coconut Sauce.
Slashfood is a site I subscribe to that does a good job of accumulating a lot of food and recipe information from all over the blogosphere. They have many contributors and various posting categories, including one amusing category I like called Food Porn where they simply have a picture of very tasty looking food.
The actual recipe originates from another food blog I had never seen before called Everybody Likes Sandwiches. I wasn’t looking for a tofu recipe in particular but I came across the picture, which looked delicious, and I was cooking & eating with a vegetarian so it was a perfect fit.
We did a lot of the initial food prep at the same time that we started the soup, but we waited to cook until after we’d all eaten the soup. Lately I’ve liked stretching the courses out like this – it’s less stressful and there’s generally no rush on a Sunday evening.
To start this dish we pressed the tofu as indicated in the recipe – the block was wrapped in a (clean) dish towel and I placed a heavy serving tray on top of it a few minutes. I also pressed down on it firmly to try to coax the liquid, but as I have no baseline experience for tofu-water-retention I’m not really sure how well it was pressed. After that I cubed the tofu and dropped it in a bowl with the prepared marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes. You can see in the second picture that the tofu soaked up all the liquid quickly.
Then we cleaned the green beans and tossed them in a similar marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger, but it also called for some sriracha for heat.
When we were done preparing and eating the soup we placed the green beans into a pan and then in the oven for fifteen minutes. At this point we also took the tofu and placed it in a large freezer bag with the corn starch.
I used this time to finish the final food prep. The recipe only called for shallots and one red pepper, but I decided to add some other vegetables I had in the fridge – one carrot, one celery stalk, and half a green pepper.
Then we put together the Thai coconut sauce, which was a simple mixture of coconut milk, chili garlic sauce, and soy sauce.
At this point I was ready to fry the tofu in the vegetable oil. This is where I made the mistake with the tofu. The author of the recipe used a well seasoned cast iron skillet, which I shamefully don’t have in my repertoire. I should have used my wok or at least a non-stick skillet because the tofu didn’t crisp up as the corn starch/marinade coating stuck to the pan rather than remaining on the tofu.
After about 5 minutes of cooking I took out the tofu and set it aside, then added the vegetables and stir fried them for a few minutes.
Once the vegetables had softened a bit we added the green beans and the coconut mixture. About this time everything started to smell and look very tasty.
I cooked this for a few minutes, letting the coconut milk reduce a little, then squeezed some lime juice over it all and added the tofu back into the mix and was ready to serve over rice.
I realize now that I have a little to learn about plating and taking photos that make the final product look “pretty”, but even with the tofu frying mistake, everything tasted great. The heat level was more appropriate than in the soup, but there was tons of flavor and the vegetables were real crisp, including the green beans, which I worried would be too soggy after the roasting and cooking in the coconut sauce. I will definitely try something like this again, especially with that I learned about the tofu.