First published in the City Natural Therapies March 2010 Newsletter. Don’t want to miss out on great recipes, thoughtful articles and health tips? Sign up for the free e-newsletter.
Last year I stumbled upon a simple but addictive recipe for an aromatic way to serve tofu. Now tomato season is in full production I’ve had fun making many variations on the dish. The tomato sauce is spiked with fresh ginger and beautifully balances sweet and savoury flavours. Feel free to use the sauce with different combinations of vegetables and protein, such as tempeh and green beans, or chickpeas and carrots.
Tofu and eggplant in tomato and ginger sauce
(serves 2 as a main or four as a side dish)
1 block (250g) firm tofu, cut into bite sized pieced
Vegetable oil for frying e.g. rice bran or raw sesame oil
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 – 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped (depending on your heat tolerance)
3 Kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
400 (or 1 can), chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy) OR 1 tsp molasses
2 tsp tamari
small knob fresh ginger
1 medium sized eggplant (or 2 Japanese eggplant), sliced
Lime wedge – to serve
Handful of fresh coriander leaves – to garnish
Drain the block of tofu, wrap in a clean tea towel and place between two plates with a weight (e.g. a can of beans) on top for 20 minutes.
In a heavy based fry pan heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and sauté the onion on a medium heat. When transparent add the garlic, chilli and half of the Kaffir lime leaves. Stir through the onions and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes.
Give the tomato/spice mixture a few minutes to get acquainted then add the kecap manis and tamari. Stir and taste for a balance between sweet and salty. Grate the ginger. You need at least a generous teaspoon of the grated pulp and juice, or if you have a fancy ginger grater that collects the juice aim for a teaspoon of the juice. Stir in the ginger, taste and added more if required. The herb should be noticeable but not overwhelming.
Covered pan with a lid and simmer on low for 15-30 minutes to let the flavours develop. You may need to add a little water so the sauce doesn’t dry out. Stir frequently.
While the sauce is cooking place another fry pan on high and cover the base with oil to shallow fry. Cut the pressed tofu into pieces and fry on both sides. Set aside to drain on paper towels. Then cook the eggplant in batches, add more oil as needed. Set aside.
After cooking the sauce for the initial 15 minutes add the eggplant. I gave it another 5 minutes before adding the tofu and the rest of the shredded Kaffir lime leaves. Stir and allow the tofu to heat through, about another 5 minutes.
Serve on basmati rice, with a wedge of lime to sprinkle and a generous handful of coriander leaves.