Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tofu and Sweet Potatoes with Sweet and Pungent Peanut Sauce

I was looking through my pile of recipes that are just waiting for the day they will be tried when I came across this one. I hadn't ever made it....and wanted to test its cardworthiness. It's from Mollie Katzen and was in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel...no date found on the clipping. I couldn't find this recipe on-line either and was hoping to do that so I wouldn't need to type the instructions. The instructions are long which is probably the reason this recipe has been in the pile for some time. Recently I thought I would take a deep breath and try it since we like all the ingredients.

Mollie is well-known for her vegetarian recipes and has authored a number of cookbooks including some in the Moosewood Cafe series. The Moosewood cookbooks are more a guide to cooking rather than specific instructions so they come in extra handy when faced with a large box of CSA vegetables needing inspiration to turn them into dinner. I'll have more of those references in the future...but today I'm referring to the recipe in the newspaper clipping.

I know that Elizabeth does the same thing I do...meatless meals combined with meals to satisfy carnivores. Both families are used to many different things for dinners, so I think both will be satisfied with this as a dinner; however, this recipe was billed as an appetizer or light meal....it could be a side dish as well. I made it for a dinner on a night Paul wasn't here...quite a bit of work for just two of us but I have been storing it for a long time.

I made this in the late spring early summer as a light meal yet a last hurrah for the sweet potatoes since they are not usually summer fare around here.

Tofu and Sweet Potatoes:
3/4 lb very firm tofu
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 1/2 c unsalted peanuts
1/4 c cider vinegar
3T sugar or light colored honey
grated zest of one lime
2 T lime juice
1/2 t salt
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/3 c hot water
cornstarch for dredging
peanut oil for frying
minced cilantro
carmelized onion condiment (see below)
Cut tofu into 1" cubes. Scrub and peel sweet potatoes and cut into 3/4" cubes.
Fill medium sized pan with water and bring to a boil. Add tofu and boil about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add sweet potatoes to same water. Turn heat down and simmer until just tender (8-10 minutes). Drain everything well and set aside keeping tofu and sweet potatoes separate.
In food processor or blender grind peanuts to a coarse meal. Transfer to med saucepan and add vinegar, sugar, lime juice and zest, salt, red pepper flakes and hot water. Place over med heat and heat to almost boiling then turn down to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Place a large skillet over medium heat and wait about 2 minutes. In the meantime, place cornstarch on a large plate and lightly dredge tofu and sweet potatoes (place in a strainer to help shake off the excess cornstarch).
Add 2 T oil to pan and swirl to coat the entire pan surface. Fry tofu chunks until lightly browned and crisp. Then do the same with sweet potato chunks. Drain on paper towels.
Transfer sauce to serving bowl and sprinkle with minced cilantro.

Serve with rice accompanied by sweet onion condiment.

Sweet onion condiment:

Cut onion into very thin slices. heat oil in pan and add onion slices. Cook on low for 30 minutes or so.

Cardworthiness Rating: Low...it was considerable work for a medicore dinner. Eleanor and I both agreed that the recipe would be best placed in the recycle bin.

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