Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lemongrass Tofu and Broccoli

When I first tasted a lemongrass infused dish, the unique flavor was absolutely delightful. Truth be told, I had no idea what lemongrass was other than the Thai restaurant used a lot of it. I could see why though. Lemongrass has a light and delicate lemon/citrus-ish tang that counters the more zesty spices like ginger, garlic, and onions.

Aside from the wonderful flavor contributions, the Thai believe lemongrass helps almost everything from a stomache to back pain (rub some herbs up on your partner's back, sexy right?) to an insect repellant. I'm not asking you to try any of the above, but it's pretty clear the Thai people might have something going on with this ancient grass of theirs.


If fresh lemongrass is challenging for you to find, you can use jarred lemongrass or lemongrass powder. If you're really in a pinch, lemon juice would be an appropriate substitution. However, fresh here is best. It's important to note that you only want to use the "heart" of the stalk. Discard where the leaves start to branch and the rough outer leaves.


Lemongrass Tofu and Broccoli
Serves 5-6


12oz extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped (1/2 tablespoons)
1 serrano chile, chopped (1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
2 cups "dip chip" carrots, cut in half (or 5-6 small carrots)
1 13.5oz can light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 12oz "steam in the bag" broccoli florets (3 cups), uncooked
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne sliced
Salt (to taste)


1. Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and cook about 10-15 minutes until the tofu becomes golden on all sides. If you want to avoid added oils,the key is a non-stick pan and cook the tofu on each side for several minutes to create the browned effect like this:
2. Pulse onion, lemongrass, chile, ginger, and garlic in a food chopper or processer until you have a paste like this:
3. Spray pot with non-stick spray and saute onion lemongrass paste on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, water, curry powder, tumeric, and carrots. Simmer on medium-low for about 10 minutes. Add broccoli florets, red bell pepper, and golden tofu. Cook 5 minutes more, or until broccoli is tender.


4. Sprinkle with salt if your taste buds demand it. Like most lemongrass dishes, this is very mild in nature so if you like it spicy (like me), add crushed red pepper to your helping.

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