It has been a chilly and rainy winter in Southern California. And more rain is here this weekend so…a good time to try some soup! A couple weeks ago after a nice but unseasonably cold bike ride, I pulled out an older edition Food and Nutrition Magazine from 2015 and found a bunch of soups to make. I am posting 2 of them here.
As participants of the Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives conference In Napa Valley, CA, we were exposed to hundreds of recipes. This was my favorite. I have never worked with lemongrass before and some of these ingredients can be hard to find. I did not want to wait until I had everything on hand to make this dish so I skipped the thai chilis and added some cayenne pepper to the marinade. I also used regular basil this time. It was still good! Next time I will experience it as written. Click here for a short video on prepping lemongrass.
Using a firm (not extra firm tofu) I take it out of the package and get some of the moisture out of it by placing on paper towels and then putting something heavy on top of it for about 30 minutes. While that is prepping, you can get the lemongrass ready by first chopping it into a much smaller piece and then basically peeling it back until you get to the softer inner part. Then you can chop it and put into a mortar and pestle to pulverize it along with the chilis (not pictured here). After the chilis and lemongrass are pulverized, add the soy sauce, sugar and tumeric and mix well.
Add the marinade to the sliced tofu (sliced fairly thin) and let it sit for 30 minutes. The marinade is more like a dry rub. It is not supposed to have much liquid. Add the onions, garlic and shallots to a sauce pan with 1 Tbsp oil, seasoned with some salt. The vegetables are not meant to brown, more like steam. Cook for one minute, covered and then add 1 Tbsp water and continue to cook covered for 5-8 minutes until the onions are translucent and soft, then set aside.
After the tofu has marinated 30 minutes, it is time to cook in a non stick pan with 2 Tbsp of oil. Make sure the oil is hot and then place the tofu in the pan and cook on both sides until brown and caramelized, (last picture above).
Once the tofu is brown, add the onion mixture and toss to warm and combine with tofu. Add 1/2 of the peanuts and thai basil and then garnish each plate with the rest of the nuts and basil. I served this over brown rice with some steamed broccoli on the side. Enjoy!!