Harissa Marinated Tofu Skewers – AFBHLS post by Soma of eCurry
~’The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not’. ~ Mark Twain
And if you thought this is the only way out to lead a healthy-lifestyle, hold back for a few moments and read what these wondrous AFBHLS guests have to say. Yes, most of them cook lavish spreads and indulge in exotic foods yet manage to stay fit. If moderation is the key for some of the AFBHLS guests than recreational activities such as gardening, cycling and yoga does wonders for others.
AFBHLS 2012 series is starting with one another awe inspiring food blogger, Soma from ecurry. A creative mom, an amazing photographer and a passionate cook who learnt the tricks of trade of cooking watching her mom and grandmother dishing out delectable dishes from their kitchen.
Her recipes resonate the flavors of traditional Indian cooking with a wonderful mix of various herbs & spices. A seasoned cook that she is, she easily transforms any international cuisine to suit her Indian taste buds and can also give a delightful make over to any Indian dish at the same time . She believes that home cooked food is healthy, balanced, comforting and aromatic.
Some of the recipes I could brought from her blog for AFBHLS ;
1. This creamy yogurt mousse like dessert is pretty easy and somewhat similar to Indian Srikhand, and with rose flavors it is a winner any day.
2. I loved this Hummus tart on her blog and tried it immediately, must say the crisp and flaky crust with herbs, olive oil and grilled vegetables make this recipe a delight.
3. Her obsession with citrus stands pretty tall in this simple yet scrumptious orange and ginger Cake, which tastes better and more flavorful a day or two later.
Here is Soma on AFBHLS with her Healthy-living secrets and a delicious Tofu recipe for you;
Hello friends! I am Soma, living in Texas with my little family; 2 little girls, the love of my life and me.A big thank you to dear Sanjeeta for inviting me over in this awesome series. I am honored to be here to share a bit of life with all of you!
I have been a big foodie from my childhood. I have to confess here that I do feel guilty when I compare my food habits with Sanjeeta’s! Her blog makes me think. To see how Sanjeeta’s recipes are adapted to be nutritious and so very healthy without compromising the taste is very inspiring!
But I do try to do my little bit, to stay within the boundaries and do so more to set an example for my children. While I grew up in a family with many a great cooks and was always around exploring different cuisines, I was taught to eat well balanced meals on the daily life; so I loved my greens and bitter gourds even as child. Yes we indulged, but in occasions. I feel that healthy eating should not take an effort, but should become a part of our life, more like a good habit. And having some basic knowledge is important to make the right decisions. And I do want to instill that in my children.
Here are a few of my (our) Healthy Living Secrets:
1. Our daily meals consist of a balanced combination, as I try to use fresh and seasonal products, and try to opt for whole grains rather than processed food. My grocery trips are usually to the places that sell local products and to Farmers Market.
2. I cook everyday (well almost). It takes less than an hour to get just cooked hot food on the table, and there is no reason that I should go get pre packaged food. My children have learned the difference between processed grains and whole grains, white sugar and raw sugar, and healthy substitutes and they keep a count of the fresh fruits and vegetables they eat everyday.
3. I do try to maintain a healthy weight which I have done for the past 20 years. The portion of food I consume is measured and is usually pretty small and I rarely “snack”. When I see that I am going even a bit over the normal routine, I do a low or no carb. detoxifying/cleansing diet for a couple of weeks, until I get back to where I should be. The diet by no means is life without eating. Instead it includes a wide variety of fresh uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts and some yogurt. I truly feel good and lightened.
4. I drink a lot of water. The intake of soda, juice or any other beverage is very limited in my life.
5. I love gardening and even go for sweeping and mopping the house instead of using a vacuum cleaner, but here is a confession – I hate getting over a treadmill or any other exercise equipment is something I cannot get myself to do. I love taking long walks outside in fresh air.
6. I love dark chocolate. Can I call that healthy?
7. I meditate everyday.
Thank you for having me over. Here is a recipe (and a little bit about it) loved by all in my family!
We did not quite have a love affair with tofu. To tell you the truth I never even heard of tofu before we moved here. I remember my grandma squeeze out fresh soy milk from soy beans. But my familiarity with soy milk stopped right there. The first time I bit into the little white cubes in an Asian vegetable soup in a restaurant, I was still trying to decide if I liked it or not. But I was slowly getting there. I tried it in soups and stir-fries a few times, before I decided to get it home and cook this elusive thing myself. This was many years back. Slowly I found ways to make my family fall in love with it too.
Harissa is one of our very close to heart condiment. You cannot go wrong with the Harissa. It spikes up anything you add it to. So here it is, two ingredients from two corner of the world brought together.
Cooking the marinated tofu on the grill adds a lovely smoky flavor (and don’t you love the grill marks!) and a subtle hint of fried garlic, which is impossible to achieve if this would be cooked in the oven. However cooking it over high heat in an indoor stove top grill pan will have the same smoky flavor. It is a ridiculously easy recipe and takes only little effort if you have the Harissa ready. I have a little jar of this magic paste always ready in my refrigerator.
Harissa Marinated Tofu Skewers
- 1 block of extra firm tofu, 14 oz/approx. 395 gms
- 4 tablespoon Harissa (*recipe below) (or use as much heat as you can take; Harissa is very spicy)
- 1 tablespoon oil + some more to brush on when cooking
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoon dried mint (optional – use if you want a subtle mint flavor)
- 4 teaspoon corn flour/or chickpea flour/besan
- salt to taste
- fresh cilantro (coriander)/or mint to garnish
Homemade Harissa: (makes approx. 3/4 cup)
- 3/4 cup dried red chilli peppers
- 1/4 cup garlic, cloves
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed
- 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- sea salt or any coarse salt to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves ( or any other herb you want to use – optional)
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree (optional… to make it less spicy)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Making the Harissa:
Remove the stems from the chilli peppers if any and soak in water for 15-20 minutes, then drain. Reserve the water. (If you do not want the Harissa too spicy, you may remove the seeds of the chili peppers).
In a dry skillet lightly toast the cumin, caraway and the coriander seeds, only for a couple of minutes until just fragrant. Watch that they do not turn dark or burn. Cool the toasted seeds.
Place all ingredient in a blender or food processor and process it until smooth but not absolutely pureed. OR place all ingredients in a mortar & pound with a pestle until smooth. If it feels too dry, add a few teaspoons of the pepper soaked water, a little at a time, only as much required to make a thick paste. (try not to use any water, as it stays longer in the refrigerator if no water in used)
Store in a clean dry container topped with the rest of the olive oil. Cover and refrigerate. Allow it to sit for a couple of days for the flavors to infuse and mature.
The sauce will stay in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
To prepare the Tofu:
Wrap the tofu block in several layers of paper towels and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. You should try to have the towels as much water from the tofu as possible.
When you feel the tofu block is considerably dry, slice into thick rectangles/squares; make sure it is think enough to run the skewers through it. Wipe the tofu pieces with a paper towel again.
Whisk all ingredients for the marinade into a smooth paste, except for the oil to be brushed on while grilling/cooking the tofu.
Combine the marinade and the tofu pieces, making sure that each piece is coated well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours; overnight works well.
When you are ready to cook/grill:
If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.
Skewer the tofu slices into the skewer, two to three in each skewer. Lightly smear a stove top grilling skillet or a skillet with oil, and when the pan is sizzling hot, place the skewers on the pan and cook each side for about 2-3 minutes each, while brushing each side with oil. The skewers may be grilled on the outdoor grill too. Do not overcook; it will make the tofu get tough and leathery.
Serve with any hot spicy chutney or any kind of condiment you want.
If you want to make a meal with it, place the tofu inside Pita or Naan, smeared with your favorite spread, fill in with some greens and wrap it up.
This looks like a perfect Healthy-living routine to me, Soma. Fresh food products, whole grain and drinking plenty of water can never go wrong. And to opt for time tested methods such as low carb diet, detoxifying and cleansing diet combined with gardening, meditation and simple household activity of mopping the whole house when you feel like going overboard need loads of patience, but results are overwhelming. No wonder you are blessed with a great body, creative mind and good health.
Thanks for honoring Lite Bite with your presence and sharing some of your tips on food and healthy living on AFBHLS with us. We all wish you a healthy, wealthy and prosperous life for you and your family.