Ok, so the weekend starts here! And today I want to share this recipe for coconut chilli tofu as a tasty and healthy alternative to the Friday night takeaway. Another entry in the series of ‘Takeaway Take Aparts” that I want to share at the end of each week – so we’ll end up with a good range of alternatives to the weekend takeout 🙂
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This dish is a kind of twist on a satay sauce recipe. Opinion varies on the historical origins of satay, but the consensus seems to be that it developed in Indonesia. I should point out that satay isn’t confined to the peanut sauce that we immediately think of when we hear the name – but it is what it has become famed for. The spicy peanut sauce has been developed across many different cuisines – from the Netherlands, across Malaysia to China.
This variation uses tofu as its basis. Although I am not vegetarian or vegan, I often enjoy vegetarian/vegan food, and the tofu here serves as the perfect protein vehicle for the sauce. Tofu is even lower in calories than chicken and provides a good source of folate, magnesium and calcium.
The neutral flavour of tofu also means that it doesn’t compete with the flavours of any sauce it is cooked with. Make sure that the tofu you buy is certified organic though: a lot of soy (the basis for tofu) is these days genetically modified unfortunately. This recipe needs firm tofu, not the silken variety, and – depending on brand – may need pressing first. If it does, there’s a handy guide on the process right here from The Spruce Eats. While you’re there, check out some of the great vegetarian recipes. I use the Tofoo brand tofu – which just needs draining and wiping dry – no pressing!
I have already mentioned in earlier recipes the many benefits that are associated with coconut. Basically, the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are easily absorbed, giving quicker energy boost – and are less likely to be stored as body fat. For more on this – and another tasty recipe – check out Healthy Tarka Dhal. You might also want to try the tasty spicy pleasures of Thai Green Chicken Curry
I would also urge you to use decent peanut butter!
Some of the gloop out there is full of (non orang-utan friendly) palm oil, sugar and salt. The best peanut butters have only one ingredient. You guessed it: peanuts! The other potential issue with peanut products is that they are, unfortunately, one of the most pesticide-contaminated food products!
Again, the answer is to buy organic. I like to use the Meridian brand organic peanut butter: there’s nothing in it except for organic peanuts and . . . nothing else!
And if you’re raising an eyebrow at the fat content of the peanut butter (on top of the coconut cream!) – relax! To start with, the low fat tofu means you can indulge a little (it’s the weekend, right?). AND remember that fats aren’t all equal – a good part of the fat in PB is oleic acid – the same as found in olive oil. It’s also a good source of a range of vitamins, including B3 and E, as well as a range of minerals – notably magnesium and manganese.
So, there you go – Coconut Chilli Tofu – great taste – and better than a takeaway in so many ways! Serve it up with some boiled jasmine rice for the perfect weekend fuel!
Let me know if you make it and how you get on. Happy running, cooking and eating!
Coconut Chilli Tofu
Lime, peanut butter, coconut cream and chilli combine to create a delicious sauce in this moreish dish.
- 200 ml hot vegetable stock
- 25 g coconut cream
- 4 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 lime - juice and grated zest
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g firm tofu
- 1 red chilli
- 5 spring onions (scallions)
Deseed and finely chop the red chilli. Slice the spring onions (scallions).
Drain the tofu and press if necessary. Chop into bite-size cubes.
Pour the vegetable stock in a measuring jug and add the coconut cream and peanut butter, stirring to dissolve. Add the lime juice and zest to the mixture.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan.
Add the dry cubes of tofu and cook, turning, until golden.
Stir in the chilli and spring onions (scallions). Cook for a minute more.
Stir the contents of the jug again and pour into the wok or pan.
Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. Add a little more stock if needed.
Serve with boiled jasmine rice.