The place I’m interning at has a cookout every other Friday for lunch and employees volunteer to cook, set up, bring sides, etc. I had wanted to bring a side two Fridays ago but I was broke. Like ridiculously, I haven’t had a paycheck/made any money for the last three and a half weeks broke. So I volunteered for this week but was still trying to keep a low budget
I had meant to start dinner in the slow cooker Thursday before work, that way when I got home all I had to do was focus on the work sides (deviled eggs and summer rolls) but um, well I kind of woke up Thursday morning and I swear my eyes were stuck together. I stumbled my way into the kitchen and chugged down my morning milk with a Carnation Instant Breakfast, and spoonful of iced hazelnut coffee (and I was amazed that I even managed to pull that off). And then I just felt lazy. I had the time to put it all together but it just seemed like so much effort, you know?
So yeah, no dinner in the slow cooker before I left which just meant more work when I got home. While running through my weekly meal plan I was aiming for the quickest recipe I still hadn’t cooked which ended up being Tofu Triangles with Spicy Onion Sauce from Cooking Light – full original recipe text here.
On a side note my goal is to start price tracking everything I buy in an effort to save money and know when things hit my “buy” price (an idea I got from readingCut Your Grocery Bill in Hall with America’s Cheapest Family by Steve & Annette Economides), but another goal is so that when I’m sharing recipes here I can actually break down the cost per serving. I think that’ll be a huge help for me as far as menu planning/budgeting (I can mix and match more expensive meals with my budget friendly ones) and I figured any readers out there may also be interested (and if you’re not its easy enough to skip over).
Along these lines I had an awesome coupon for tofu and the store was also running a sale so I ended up buying two packages that were sitting in my fridge, begging to be used (unopened fresh tofu stays good in the fridge for about a month and a half to two).
So here’s my version of Tofu Triangles with Spicy Onion Sauce (anything in italics is what I changed):
Tofu Triangles with Spicy Onion Sauce
- 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cut into 6 (3/4-inch-thick) slices
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (the original calls for chickpea flour but I don’t really keep that on hand)
- 2 teaspoons grapeseed or canola oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced onion, separated into rings (about 1 onion)
- 2 teaspoons madras curry powder (you could also use regular curry powder but since the recipe is named Spicy Onion Sauce – madras is a hotter curry powder blend)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of sriracha (more or less to taste)
- 1 cup diced plum tomato (about 3)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ cup of chicken stock (or vegetable for a vegetarian version or water for a vegan version – I also threw in the idea at the end of the blog to do 1 cup of stock mixed with 1 – 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to make it “wetter)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
- Place the tofu slices on several layers of paper towels, and cover with additional paper towels. Let stand for 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Cut each tofu slice diagonally into 2 triangles.
- Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour in a shallow dish, and dredge tofu triangles in flour. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu; sauté 3 minutes on each side. Set aside; keep warm.
- Add onion to pan, and stir-fry 4 minutes. Add the curry, salt, cumin, turmeric, and pepper, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add tomato, cilantro, sriracha, and sugar, and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add stock and vinegar; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes. Spoon onion sauce over tofu. Serve with rice. I also sprinkled a bit of dried parsley on top of everything just to make it “pretty”.
I think the whole recipe took me about 20 – 25 minutes with a bit of multitasking (cutting onion which tofu is draining, etc.) I probably could have done it even quicker but I like to pre-measure everything before I start cooking. For example, to shave off about 4 – 5 minutes I could have done all the chopping of onion, tomato, cilantro, and while onion was cooking then measured out the spices, vinegar, etc. *sigh* Where’s an awesome sous chef when you need one? But I hate having that mad rush around where you risk burning/messing something up, so for me I find it easier to take an extra minute to get it all set up beforehand.
I’d probably give this recipe a 3.5 – 4 on a taste scale of 5. I appreciated the convenience and flavor wise it was tasty but didn’t “blow” me away. It sort of reminded me of a dry curry, but the reason I love Indian food so much is because of the wet curries we get at the restaurants around here. And why is it called spicy onion sauce when the original ingredients don’t have anything “spicy” (and hence my need to add sriracha and use madras curry powder)? Maybe it’s because I associate the word “spicy” with hot. I think the original should be renamed Tofu Triangles with a Spiced Onion Sauce, but I digress.
But as far as ease of making and it being basically a one dish meal (apart from the rice – I love you rice cooker) it’s a definite winner. Plus as far as cost per serving, although I don’t have the specific numbers, I can’t imaging this being a high cost per serving so double winner (I mean really, tofu, onion, and tomato are relatively inexpensive and everything else I keep in my pantry).
So any advice? Has anyone made this before? What would you do to the recipe if you wanted to change/improve it?
I’m thinking since I prefer wet curries I would probably change the amount of stock to 1 cup and mix in 1 – 2 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken it and then just cook it a bit longer. I could also use ghee (hmmm….clarified butter) but since I try to make things healthier, ghee is not the best choice (although a delicious one – a really, really delicious one).