Monday, February 21, 2011

Stepping out of my comfort zone

Curried Tofu Pâté
Delicious Dips Copyright 2004

1 pound firm tofu (I think the tofu I found was only 14 ounces, I just sort of shorted the rest of the ingredients slightly)
1 ½ tablespoons pure olive oil
3 green onions, including green tops, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons honey
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Drain the tofu and blot completely dry with paper towels. Let the tofu sit on several thicknesses of paper towels while you sauté the vegetables.

In a small sauté pan, warm the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the green onions and celery and sauté just until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add the curry, turmeric and cayenne. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash the tofu with the back of a fork until it breaks into small curds. Add the curry mixture and stir to blend. Add the mayonnaise, parsley, honey, salt and pepper. Gently mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Make 2 ½ cups.

No, it wasn't the tofu that scared me. It was the curry powder. There was a time when curry powder wasn't an issue for me. I used to absolutely love the mulligatawny soup they served in a hospital where I used to work and curry powder was the predominant flavor. I can't say I really ate a lot of other dishes with that flavor but I couldn't get enough of that soup.

Flash forward to my biggest recipe disaster since starting this blog. I was attempting to make a potato dish spiced with curry spices, not the already blended stuff but it had that familiar smell and I didn't like that smell. The smell of those spices made me so ill! I got an instant headache and I wanted to vomit. I stopped and threw it out and I haven't been able to give curry powder a second thought since then.

I think it's the cumin. I don't know what it is about that spice. I've always liked it in chili, tacos, things like that but it's been hit and miss in other things. It doesn't bother me at all in the Spicy Red Pepper Hummus. I bought some Kirkland Organic Salsa in Costco and it turned out to have cumin it it. I thought it was going to get thrown out when I first tasted it but I got used to it.

So, I decided to give curry powder another chance. I mean, there is mayonnaise in this, what can be bad with mayonnaise? At first, I was a bit hesitant. I did not like the smell of these spices cooking. But, I really did like the final result. It's creamy and a bit sweet. I actually started to crave this. I'm still considering making my own curry powder blend without cumin but I am strangely attracted to this stuff in spite of the cumin. I'm wondering if there is a completely different direction I could go in with this also - some other spice blend and/or different vegetables. I think there are a lot of possibilities here.

This is a book about dips but the author modeled this recipe after a commercial version (she doesn't name it by name and I have no idea what it might be) that she mentions she likes to spread on a toasted bagel. I enjoyed it on half of a honey wheat sandwich thin in this picture but I like it best as a wrap made with a whole wheat tortilla. I found a brand of whole wheat tortillas that I really like so I'm always looking for new things to eat them with.

It's not bad on Pringles either, in case you were wondering.


Annie Jones said...

I don't think curry powder has ever made me feel sick, but I agree that a little goes a long way. I have a recipe for steamed fluffy dumplings that go under a chicken gravy. Curry powder is the last thing I'd have thought of to put in the dumplings, but they are amazing.

M Smith said...

As soon as I saw the post I said, "Oh yeeay! Tofu!" I totally love it and it is such a bargain protein, in every sense of the word.

Well, I love curry powder. Any which way I can get it. But I certainly can see why you can get turned off by it. You either love or hate cumin. Same for cilantro. People either love it or hate it.

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Wendi said...

Well, I do not actually believe it is likely to have success.