When the hot weather hits and the grills are smoking, there is most certainly a place for vegan cuisine. And, really, you don't have to be vegan to enjoy it. It's light, healthy and can be pretty easy to make. Pick up a copy of renowned vegan cook and author Bryant Terry's new book, Afro-Vegan, and pump up the flavor with African, Caribbean and Southern influence.
I was inspired to make this dish after seeing a recipe for Tanzanian fish curry in The Taste of Africa, by Rosamund Grant and Josephine Bacon. My version is pretty straightforward: the tofu makes it hearty and satisfying, the greens are tender and give the dish a nourishing feel, and the curried broth brings everything together.
- 14 - 16 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 cup white onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 6 pods cardamom, toasted, then seeds removed and ground
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juices
- 1 heaping tablespoon chunky peanut butter
- 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
- 3 cups vegetable stock, homemade or store-bought
- 12 ounces mustard greens, stemmed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the tofu in a bowl, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
- Gently toss the tofu with clean hands until evenly coated.
- Transfer to the lined baking sheet, spreading the tofu in a single layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through, until firm.
- Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the mustard seeds and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until they pop, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the onion and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder and ground ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, peanut butter and jalapeño and stir until well combined.
- Stir in the stock, mustard greens and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
- Decrease the heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
- Gently stir in the tofu and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves. Taste and season with more salt and black pepper if desired.
- Serve garnished with the cilantro.
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