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Jun 30, 2008 09:43 PM

July COTM (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone): BEANS PLAIN and FANCY, GRAINS & THE SOY PANTRY

Please post all recipes for these chapters here. Make sure you indicate the page number of each recipe.

Con Mucho Gusto!

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  1. Malaysian-Inspired Tofu Curry (p.602)

    This dish was dead simple to make. Take 2 cans of coconut milk, some brown sugar, coriander, curry powder, tumeric, cayenne, salt, chopped ginger and garlic and tamarind paste and boil for a minute, add tofu cubes and simmeer for 10, then add chopped tomato and scallion for another 10 more, finish with lime juice and garnish with cilantro. For me, this was tasting wonderful until the addition of the tomatoes. Somehow they added a jarring note, although they may well be what makes this "malaysian-inspired" - I really don't know and would love to hear from people more experienced with Malaysian food. Served it over rice. Still good - definitely a B, but that tomato was a problem for me, having tasted and loved the sauce before I added it. My husband said "the tofu itself doesn't add much, but the sauce has so much flavor it doesn't really matter" Oh, and I'd say I probably doubled the cayenne (at least) - we like things spicy.

    12 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      That's interesting. I was going to make a different tofu recipe from the book this weekend but I have most of the ingredients for that one too, including tamarind. (I've had it for ages. I assume it keeps well.)

      1. re: NYCkaren

        I'd had mine around (tamarind, that is) unopened for a year. It seems very much like it will keep for a looong time, but this is my first time using the stuff.

      2. re: LulusMom

        I just had the leftovers for lunch; I have to say, pretty delicious, although definitely the next time I make it I will go *very* lightly with the tomatoes.

        1. re: LulusMom

          I made this last night and really liked it. I also didn't have a problem with the tomatoes, but it didn't really add anything either. I used two round ones v. 4 plums.

          Next time though, I would add more cayenne (I'm always generous with cayenne) but thought that this could have used more heat. Maybe a sliced hot pepper? Also, there was a lot of sauce and not enough tofu. I would also probably double the tofu in it. Oddly enough, the tofu didn't pick up the flavor of the curry the way I thought it would. After simmering for 20+ minutes, I thought the tofu would be infused with spices, but it wasn't. The broth was a bit thinner than I thought it would be as well.

          I agree with the poster that this curry would be good with meat or seafood as well.

          Pet peeve - I *think* the recipe said to use a medium pan. I needed to put the tomatoes and scallions in a large skillet and then pour the tofu/curry/sauce into it because my medium pan was too small.

          Pictures are on the home computer. Will post tonight or tomorrow night as well as other recipes that I've tried.

          1. re: beetlebug

            Here are the pictures. See how sauce sauce to tofu ratio in the skillet? I would add another box of tofu or other veggies to even it out.

            1. re: beetlebug

              I must say that your picture of the plate of food looks yummy. Can I invite myself over for dinner?

              1. re: beetlebug

                I am not a vegetarian, but this certainly looks like it would be so satisfying. Nicely done!

            2. re: LulusMom

              Made the Malaysian-inspired Tofu Curry again recently. Only put in one tomato, and added some baby bok choy. Delightful, although this time, weirdly enough, I sort of missed the tomato. I'm obviously a little crazy.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Yes, for the safety and well-being of us all, you should be immediately sent away to the loonie bin!

                PS: I love your posts so I figure I'll go with you.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I have only one question. Why?

                  I too look forward to your posts... but this is beyond the pale... whatever that means. LOLOL

                  1. re: Gio

                    I'm asking myself the very same thing ... why did I miss those blasted tomatoes that had irritated me the first time? I did note when I looked back at this post that I'd enjoyed the leftovers. Live and learn.

              2. Spicy chickpea puree, p. 99.
                I assume this goes in this thread. It's under "Bean dips and spreads." It's a nice change from hummus. Basically hummus without the tahini and with some different spices. She says to use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne. I used 1/4, and if I make it again I'll cut down on the cayenne so I'll be able to taste the other spices more.

                4 Replies
                1. re: NYCkaren

                  LulusMom got me curious about the Malaysian-Inspired Tofu Curry (p.602). I mainly wanted an excuse to use my long-forgotten tamarind. Yum! I absolutely love the combination of flavors in this recipe. No problem with the tomato either.

                  1. re: NYCkaren

                    I do wonder if it is just me with the tomato ...

                    Isn't it an easy recipe though?

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Yes and if you wanted to veer away from vegetarianism I bet the same sauce would be good with cubes of chicken or fish.

                      1. re: NYCkaren

                        No question. A mix of scallops and shrimp would be incredible.

                2. Green Lentils and Spinach with Hard-Cooked Eggs and Toast (p.302)

                  I've been wanting to make some lentils for my baby daughter, and this seemed like a recipe that we could enjoy together with her. As it turns out, our daughter really likes it (we puree and freeze little cubes, which we then defrost and serve to her at mealtimes) -- which is great since it is quite nutritious. My wife and I thought that it was a decent enough dish, but not spectacular.

                  The dish consists of a few different parts that come together at the end: 1. boiled lentils (I added diced carrots) 2. sauteed onions 3. lightly sauteed spinach with garlic 4. hard boiled eggs and 5. toasted bread. The sauteed onions and spinach went well with the lentils; the contrast in texture and flavor between the stewed lentils, garlicky spinach, and slightly caramelized onions was quite nice. The eggs and toasted bread didn't add anything to the dish, in terms of flavor or balance.

                  For non-vegetarians, the addition of bacon would make the dish much more satisfying, and I think the lentils-onions-spinach (I probably wouldn't bother with eggs or toast) would be great with pan-fried pork chops. Photo attached.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: iandoh

                    Well that looks good!
                    Can you make an omelete with your dish by placing your spinach-lentil-onions inside the wrapped egg? Well what I'm thinking anyway, is what a great breakfast! Love carmelized onions, they are great addition to most anything!

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      That's a fantastic idea, this would go great in an omelet. Much better than the hard boiled eggs, I bet!

                  2. Chickpeas and Greens with Moroccan Spices (p. 309)

                    Tasty, healthy, flavorful meatless main dish. I did encounter several "issues" making the dish, not all related to the recipe! First, my changes: I used spinach instead of chard (that's what the market had), I used a can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes because the farmer's market doesn't have tomatoes yet, I omitted the preserved lemon, I used a mix of red and green bell pepper (recipe doesn't specify), and I used the two cans of chickpeas instead of cooking from scratch.

                    Madison instructs us to remove the skins from the chickpeas. Admittedly more authentic, I did find this to be a pain in the patookus. When I make this again (and I will), I will omit this step. To me , it was unnecessary. Plus, the skins are a valuable source of fiber and when I eat a meal like this, health, not just taste, is a concern of mine.

                    Make the garlic paste: I only have a small marble spice grinder and I was trying to make a paste using 6 big garlic cloves. Needless to say, I was constantly picking up bits of garlic. Next time I'll make the paste in two batches. If you have a reasonably sized mortar and pestle, making the paste should not present a problem.

                    The spinach set off the flavorful chickpeas quite nicely. I am looking forward to having some of this for lunch! Madison does say that it is even better the next day, so lunch should be pretty tasty. I might cook up some whole-wheat pasta and serve the chickpeas over them.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      Chickpeas and chard/spinach are such a wonderful combination.

                      And can I say how much I love the word "patookus", which I've never heard before. I'm assuming it's a polite way of referring to one's behind. I am going to use it whenever possible/appropriate!

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        I don't know where I got the word from, but it is a cute substitute for a$$.

                        And the chickpeas were even better today!

                          1. re: nofunlatte

                            Sounds like a derivative of the Yiddish word, "tookas" (usually spelled "tuchas" or "tuchus").

                            Yiddish is, of course, a very rich source of words about food and eating. So there's my food content -- don't delete me, Chowhound moderators!!!

                            1. re: jlafler

                     Jewish brother in law used to say "pain in the tookas" all the time...I believe that's where Nofunlatte got the word from...a malaprop ("patookas", perhaps a combiniation of 'patootey' and 'tookas'?) but we get it. And, yes, removing the skins from chickpeas is a huge pain...I have a co-worker whose husband has had a severe form of colitis and had to have surgery...he cannot eat any fiber so when she makes hummus, she diligently removes those skins....I've done it a few times and I think it makes the hummus smoother but for most of us who can and should eat that fiber, it's a tedious task.

                        1. re: nofunlatte

                          I received the book yesterday in the post; got a cheap copy on Amazon UK, and since I had everything but the greens in the house, I decided to try this one. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I used plain "greens" from Sainsbury's (no chard around). I also used canned tomatoes, and I omitted the bell peppers because I don't eat those. Also, I thought briefly about skinning the chickpeas, but it was already 6:30 pm and I couldn't be bothered.

                          I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I did use the preserved lemon, and it added just the perfect zing. I also served it with a little harissa paste on the side, which was a good complement. Oh, and I served it over bulgur wheat because I didn't have enough rice on hand. I didn't have great expectations for this; it could easily have been a boring, generic veggie dish. But I was so pleased, and my SO enjoyed it too.

                          Like you, nofunlatte, I used a small marble mortar/pestle (I think that's what you meant?), and like you, I had a few flying bits of garlic. It occurred to me that microplaning it might have been the way forward.

                          Also, I discovered a neat shortcut. For harissa, I have a spice blend that I bought from Seasoned Pioneers ( You just add olive oil and garlic. But even better, I got lazy (yesterday was a very long day) and used some garlic-infused olive oil (store bought, for shame). It was delicious.

                          1. re: Kagey

                            Microplaning is a great idea, Kagey! I'll have to try that next time. Thanks for the tip.

                          2. re: nofunlatte

                            I don't have a mortle and pestal either, maybe next Christmas! But when I make a garlic paste I put the cloves of garlic (after a rough chop) on the cutting board (wooden) and I add a little salt, then with my large knife, I smoosh it. So far this works well for me with the least mess. Salt works as a terrific abrasive to help grind the garlic down. I'm not sure about adding a bit of salt to the grinder, never tried that yet..

                            1. re: nofunlatte

                              I've made this recipe many times (often making some of the same subs as you--canned tomatoes are so much better than fresh when it's not tomato time of year!). I think it's great! I've almost always skipped the skinning the chickpeas portion of the recipe--a total waste of time IMHO.

                            2. Golden Bean Curd with Tomatoes p.603

                              At least I think that's the name, I don't have the cookbook with me right now. I made this because I wanted to do something different than what I usually do with tofu, and I had all of the ingredients (almost all of the other tofu recipes called for coconut milk). This was...okay. I probably won't make it again, but I liked it fine while eating it. Ultimately, it was just too much work for too little payoff -- lots of slicing, then frying the tofu, removing it, adding the shallots (I used an onion), then garlic, then tomatoes, etc, simmering, then adding the tofu and simmering more. It didn't really come together as a whole, and the tofu didn't end up with much flavor. I also added some chiles to it, thank goodness, because otherwise it would have been pretty bland. I think I'm going to pick up some coconut milk and make that Malaysian inspired curry.

                              Also, this recipe was another reminder that a lot of the recipes in this book (even the ones that I really like) have steps missing. She tells you to fry the tofu, but doesn't say to remove it to a plate to wait for the next step in the recipe involving it, and while that's a small thing, at first I wasn't sure if I was to add the onion and garlic to the tofu, or remove it and add it later. Later on she tells you to add the tofu to the onion/tomato mixture, so I connected the dots, but this cookbook could use a revamp that connects the dots for you.