Tag Archives: tofu

Deliciously healing Indian-inspired bean curd

It’s a cold cold cold (but thankfully sunny) day here in New York City–perfect for something warm and spicy, right? Today’s meatless recipe is from a terrific chef named Karen Lee that teaches cooking classes in her Manhattan apartment. Adam and I got a class as a gift and learned–and ate–so much in our 3-hour session. We can’t wait to go back another time.

Karen has a very practical, healthy approach to cooking, and ever single thing we made was delicious. She also has encyclopedic knowledge when it comes to the health benefits of various foods. (Take a look at her website for all sorts of tips and recipes.) One of the things she shared in class was the benefits of tumeric, a spice reportedly good for preventing acid reflux, inflammation, and even cancer. Karen says it’s good to get a bit every day, and that the benefits and flavor are enhanced when added to some oil, onion, or garlic, and sauteed over low heat (perfect for bread dipping). The information she offered on various healing spices actually inspired the croutons I made to go with the cauliflower soup I made a few weeks ago.

We were sent home with a full bellies and a stack of recipes for the dishes we made. One of my favorites was this Indian-inspired Bean Curd loaded with turmeric and other healing spices. If you’re not a tofu person, I could see making just the sauce and serving it with a meaty fish, shrimp, chicken, or just on its own with some crusty bread. Karen’s recipe includes sautéed tofu, which is delicious and done with very little oil. But at home I ended up roasting mine just because I have this knack for making a splattery mess with tofu and knew I would be too lazy to clean it all up properly afterwards, so I’ve included my tips for doing that. Also, I knew there would be leftovers, and roasted tofu keeps its texture and flavor over the course of a few days, whereas the golden crust from frying is really best when enjoyed immediately or soon after at room temperature. Continue reading

Kimchi dumplings

This recipe is in honor of my dear Korean friend Sang Won, both an honorary Ukrainian and member of the Galadza clan. Sang likes perogies, and he also likes kimchi. And I like to think of kimchi dumplings (or mandoo, to be precise) as the ideal, balanced perogy; it has the carby goodness in the skin, and a light, healthy, and deliciously fermented filling. Moreover, kimchi is the tangy, spicy, pickled, fermented condiment that (in my opinion) is precisely what’s missing from Ukrainian cuisine. Is anyone in agreement with me on that? But I digress…

These are surprisingly easy to make. The kimchi dumplings from my locale of choice–Mandoo Bar in Manhattan’s Little Korea–have bits of pork in them, and I’m sure I will try making them myself sometime. But for a Meatless Monday version,  I experimented with the recipe provided by Serious Eats. And I’m proud to say that I used my very own homemade kimchi, which is easy to make and much more economical if you eat it the way I do.

Overall, the recipe is great and I’ll make these again once our frozen stash runs out. But I do have a few recommendations:

- drain off the kimchi liquid, and instead of chopping up the kimchi, run it through the food processor. Tiny bits are much easier to work into a dumpling wrapper.

- the liquid doesn’t seem to go away, even after draining, so if you find that the dumpling mixture is pretty wet, keep it in a strainer over an empty bowl while you assemble.

- next time I make these, I will try substituting earthy buckwheat noodles for the vermicelli. I might also swap out the tofu and use mushrooms,  broccoli , or root vegetables (all roasted first to draw out the water, of course).

- make a meal out of these, as I did, by placing several over bok choy sauteed in sesame oil. Or stir into a big bowl of spicy broth and winter vegetables.

- for tips on folding dumplings (the perogy method didn’t work, I quickly learned), take a look at this video.

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