read_w (read_w) wrote,

Tofu with green beans and coconut sauce

This is remarkably good—better than the sum of its parts. As I was tasting the sauce, etc., I thought I was going to be disappointed. I think it also gets better the next day (though it loses a lot of color).

On first reading, this may look time consuming. But there's a lot of meanwhile time—while the tofu is pressing, while it's baking, while the onions are sweating.

Press 16 oz firm tofu (put on a plate, cover with another plate, and weight with about 4 lbs [½ gallon container] for 20-30 minutes). Cut the tofu into cubes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine 1 Tbs sesame oil, 2 Tbs shoyu, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp dry ginger, a few dashes hot sauce, 2 Tbs water. Grease a shallow baking dish. Add the tofu, pour the shoyu mixture over, and gently stir to coat. Bake, gently stirring occasionally (a silicone spatula works well), until liquid is mostly gone, about 25 minutes.

Thinly slice 1 smallish onion. Cook in oil over low heat with ¼ tsp salt until thoroughly soft, 10-15 minutes—you may want to cook it covered, as you don't want it to dry and brown. (A wide skillet works best for this, for reducing later on.)

Trim 1 lb green beans and cut into 2" pieces; slice 1 red bell pepper and cut into 2" pieces.

Once the onions are soft (but not brown), turn heat up to medium and add 1 Tbs grated ginger, 1 Tbs minced garlic, ¼ tsp chili flakes; sauté a couple minutes.

Add 1 can (14-15 oz) coconut milk, additional ½ tsp salt, 1 Tbs shoyu; bring to a boil. Add the green beans and quickly bring back to boil; simmer 2-3 minutes. Add the peppers and simmer another 6 minutes or so, until beans are just cooked through.

Remove the beans and peppers with a slotted spoon, and quickly boil down the sauce till slightly thickened, reduced to about ¾ cup. Stir in about 1 Tbs lime juice; you may want to add a bit of sweetener or more salt.

Serve the beans over the tofu, pour the sauce over that, and top with cilantro and chopped salted toasted cashews.

You could serve this over rice noodles or rice, though it's not very strongly flavored—I liked it by itself.

It's difficult to keep the green beans bright green; cooking them quickly and serving as soon as possible after they're cooked will help.

Modified from Gourmet, Sept 2005
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