Tofu & Bok Choy in Coconut Sauce
OK...I know this dish does look a little 'brown rice and tofu hippy dippy vegetarian' but, actually, it was another sophisticated-tasting Deborah Madison recipe, alive with the flavors of lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, and coconut.
It was my first dish using fresh lemongrass. I'd never seen this thin stalky herb, until I picked some up at the farmers' market. Now I suddenly see it everywhere —jeepers, even Safeway has it! The base of the lemongrass stalk is reminiscent of a very tightly packed leek or scallion and the leaves are light green and decidedly grassy. The recipe called for minced lemongrass from the middle of the stalk and as soon as I cut into this herb, I enjoyed its delightful fresh lemon smell. It was no surprise to read that lemongrass contains the same oil found in lemon peel.
I basically followed Madison's recipe (from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone), but added bok choy and fresh corn. I almost skipped the corn, feeling I was mixing flavors that ethnically shouldn't go, but I'm glad I went for it anyway: it was sweet! The bok choy was a good choice, but I think any of the milder greens would work here. Next time, I'd add more lemongrass and I really underestimated the salt needed. Still, the flavors were delicious and this was really quite simple to prepare.
Tofu & Bok Choy in Coconut Sauce (adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone):
6-8oz extra firm tofu, cubed
1-2 tbsp peanut oil
1-2 large shallots, diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
2-3 tbsp lemongrass, minced from the middle of the stalk
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
7oz light coconut milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (I winged it)
2-3 small bok choy, leaves torn, tender base chopped
1 ear fresh corn, cobbed
1 tsp soy sauce
Heat 1 tbsp peanut oil in a pan and cook the shallots gently until light brown (8-10 minutes). Add half of the cilantro and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp peanut oil in a non-stick skillet or wok. Add the ginger, lemongrass, and jalapeno and cook for about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and add the tofu, bok choy, and corn. Salt. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until sauce is fairly thick. Add the soy sauce, shallots with cilantro, and remaining cilantro. Check the seasonings and then serve over rice.