Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tofu Tacos with Cashew Sauce

Eight years ago, when I met my husband, I found out that I didn't have the adventurous palate that I thought I did; and even though his tastes were somewhat narrow compared to mine, he cooked things that I never considered. I even turned my nose up at some. Most baffling to me was tofu. Sure, I had eaten tofu here and there in Asian restaurants, but it was always because it happened to be on my plate mixed in with other more desirous things, not because I was specifically interested in ordering tofu.

I knew myself to be entirely open to foods of all sorts, so in realizing that I was wrong in this perception, I found myself in a challenging position. I didn't like being someone who wasn't open to new foods, even though I clearly was that person. So, I decided to simply be open and accept my newfound friend - tofu. And now, I'm a true fan.

As it turns out, tofu is a very complex food, which I am only beginning to understand. It can be eaten in any number of forms (soups, sauces, stews, frozen, fried, sauteed, grilled, baked ... you name it). It can take on virtually any flavor, so it can fit in any cuisine. Lots of culinary fun can be had with tofu, and that is what I am attempting to do.

This recipe is one of my adventures in tofuland.

Tofu Tacos with Cashew Sauce

16 oz. firm tofu
tofu marinade (see below)
safflower oil spray
20 leaves of greens (I used swiss chard and turnip greens), shredded
1/2 daikon, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
3-5 turnips, sliced into matchsticks
1 cup bean sprouts
cashew sauce (see below)
12 brown rice tortillas

Tofu Marinade
3 Tbsps. low-sodium tamari
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
2 inches ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Cashew Sauce
1/2 cup raw cashew butter
1/4 cup wheat-free low-sodium tamari
1 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsps. tahini
2 Tbsps. safflower oil
2 Tbsps. agave nectar

Place whole tofu brick in a bowl. Place another bowl or plate on top of the tofu and weigh it down with something heavy, such as a can of beans. Put the weighed down tofu in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Remove the weight, and pour off whatever liquid has accumulated in the bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients. Cut the tofu into four equally thick slices. Lay the tofu slices in a single layer in a small glass container or pan. Allow to marinate, refrigerated, for at least 4 hours, turning once.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Spray with safflower oil. Once the pan is hot, add the tofu slices. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Once slightly cooled, cut tofu into thick strips.

In a small bowl, whisk together cashew sauce ingredients. It will be somewhat thick. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add water, 1 Tbsp at a time until you reach the desired effect.

Using one tortilla at a time, paint the center with a dollop of cashew sauce, add a few strips of the tofu and some of each of the vegetables. If using taco-sized tortillas, simply fold in half and enjoy. If using burrito-sized tortillas, bring one end over, fold in the sides, and then roll the wrap over the other end. Cut in half on an angle.

Serves 4-6.

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