Malaysian Tofu and Broccoli Curry

April 2, 2009
Malaysian Tofu and Broccoli Curry

Malaysian Tofu and Broccoli Curry

    Vegan Malaysian Tofu and Broccoli Curry

When I found the roti jala (net bread) recipe at Veggie Belly, I also found this curry, which was the recommended accompaniment to the bread.

(Her blog is fascinating, and her photos make me drool…do check it out when you have some time!)

I didn’t bother pressing the tofu. Instead, I cut it into squares and fried them in the pan until all the water cooked out and they were firm and browned.

Most of the work with curries like this one, which involve blending ingredients to make a paste, is in the chopping of the vegetables. Once that is done, use a blender or food processor to make the paste, and the rest is just cooking to soften the vegetables.

Unless, of course, you are one of those zen-like cooks who enjoys the physical or spiritual aspects of making your curry pastes by pounding the ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Pound away!

The result is the same: a creamy, rich curry with a flavor that reminds me somehow of seafood, although it is completely vegan.

2 TBS oil
1 block firm tofu, cut into cubes
2 pieces star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves or 1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tomato, chopped or 1 can (14.5 oz) chopped or diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 cup water

1 can (13 oz) coconut milk
2 cups broccoli florets

For the curry paste:
1/2 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 TBS ginger, chopped
4 stalks lemongrass
12 cashew nuts
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup water

In a non-stick pan, fry tofu in oil until browned and all liquid is gone.

For the lemongrass, use the bottom stalk portion and remove the tough outer layers. Put those into the curry whole. Chop the tender innermost section and add to the blender along with the other paste ingredients. (You can use the leaves to make tea.)

Grind paste ingredients in a blender. Add a little more water if necessary.

In a large pot, saute curry paste about 5 minutes. Add browned tofu and all remaining ingredients except coconut milk and broccoli. Cook 15 mins.

Add coconut milk and broccoli. Cook 5-10 minutes, til broccoli is done.

Serve with roti jala and rice.

Vegan Halloween Party Food

October 30, 2009

Today I made some food ahead of time in preparation for a Halloween dinner party I’m having tomorrow night. Part of the trick is giving food gory names that match the appearance of the dishes.

Coagulated Blood Dip

Based on the idea I found here, I put together a beet dip and doctored it quite heavily. The result isn’t as bloody in color, but it still maintains a greyish-pink hue, sickly looking enough to gross people out, I hope, especially when accompanied by mummified skin flakes (aka pita chips.)

blood dip

Healthy and gross: Coagulated Blood Dip and Mummified Skin Flakes

Another pupu (that’s the Hawaiian word for “appetizer”) that is almost too disgusting to try is Smashed Cockroaches.

Once again, I borrowed this idea from the internet, which takes dates, cuts them open, fills with cream cheese, and puts them on a platter. I veganized it with a cream-cheese-like mixture into which I mixed some chopped walnuts. Because I have some teeny green scallion tops in the garden, I decided to use those to mimic the antennae.

It’s easier if you put the green onions in first, then add the cream-cheesy mixture. And since it was a tad too sweet for my taste as is, I dipped them in vegetarian bacon bits for even more crunch and a nudge toward a more savory flavor.
stuffed roaches
Whoever thought these up was creative indeed. I love how the shape and color of the dates so perfectly matches those disgusting outdoor cockroaches. (If you live somewhere where you don’t have them, be glad!)

And of course, to make them even grosser, I am calling them “Smashed Cockroaches,” because that’s exactly what they look like after you’ve attempted to kill them with your rubber slippers!

Pond Scum Soup
At one point I was growing a plant called “cholesterol spinach,” and I couldn’t even give it away. It had the nasty habit of creating slime when cooked, which is probably what made it so healthy to consume.

One day I made spinach soup with it, but the resulting slimy goo was too disgusting for me to eat. Remembering that, I created this Pond Scum Soup with my most recent “cholesterol spinach” plant, which does not create slime.

I sauteed onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms and spinach, then cooked it with some water and one potato. I blended it and added a lot of lemon juice for a tart, mossy greenish glop.
pond scum soup

The spider-web-like topping is soy yogurt, piped in a spiral. Then I used a chopstick stuck in the middle and dragged to the edge, repeatedly. Wipe off the chopstick after each stroke.

Steamed Maggots and Chunky Cat Barf
Our main course will be rice and curry renamed. I plan to use a couple different varieties and colors of rice, to give it more “what the heck IS that?” appeal.

The curry is the same recipe as in this Malaysian Broccoli And Tofu Curry post. The only difference was I added reconstituted TVP instead of tofu, plus some bell peppers and corn, to give it a more cat-vomit-like look.

chunky cat barf

Pretty gross, huh? heh heh.

I plan to serve it with Roti Jala, Net Bread, just like I did before. But we’ll make it at the party, since it tastes best when fresh, retaining a crispiness along with chew. I’m going to call it “Spider Web Bread,” because the lacy appearance is close enough to spider webs to match the Halloween party theme.

It will be interesting to see if the food tastes less delicious when given such disgusting names. I’ll post again after the party and let you know how it all went.

Stay tuned to see my “Body Part Punch” and “Black Widow Spider Cakes.” Mwah ha ha!

Roti Jala (Net Bread)

April 1, 2009

Roti Jala (Net Bread), above, pictured with Malaysian Tofu and Broccoli Curry

Roti Jala (Net Bread), above, pictured with Malaysian Tofu and Broccoli Curry

I found a fascinating post at about roti jala, or net bread, which has origins in India.

The batter consistency is like a thin pancake. Traditionally it is ladled into a roti jala mold, a contraption that looks very much like a measuring cup with holes poked in the bottom. The batter drizzles from the holes in thin lines, and by moving in circles, you create a flower-like shape. (Watch the video on Veggie Belly’s site for details.)

(Anybody remember Spirograph?)

The resultant roti jala is reminiscent of a crepe, but with a delicate, lacy pattern. Eat it soon in order to retain the crispy crunch around the edges. Otherwise they will be soft and somewhat chewy.

I was tempted to jerry-rig my own roti jala mold by punching holes in the bottom of a measuring cup, but I opted for the less destructive method of re-using a mustard bottle. (Re-duce, Re-use, Re-think!)

An empty mustard or other squeeze bottle works well.  Squeeze and drizzle in overlapping circles.

An empty mustard or other squeeze bottle works well. Squeeze and drizzle in overlapping circles.

I made the recipe as written, using an egg, but Sala Kannan at Veggie Belly says a vegan version can be made by substituting about 2 TBS cornstarch or rice flour for the egg. (I haven’t tried a vegan version yet, but I plan to and will post about it when I do.) I also used whole wheat flour to increase fiber and nutrition.

    Roti Jala (Net Bread)

Makes about 12 roti

2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1-1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
Oil for frying

Mix all ingredients together with a fork or whisk. Strain to remove any lumps.

Pour into a clean squeeze bottle.

Heat a non-stick frying pan or griddle until hot. It is ready when drops of water sprinkled on the surface skitter and bounce across it.

Pour about 1 tsp oil onto the pan or griddle. With a fluid motion, quickly squeeze the bottle, pouring batter in overlapping circles.

Cook until the bottom starts to turn brown, then fold it over into fourths.

Repeat with remaining batter, adding oil to the skillet each time.

Serve immediately with Malaysian Broccoli and Tofu Curry.