What you are about to read is an amazingly simple recipe that I can whip up spontaneously, or when I don't even really feel like cooking. And it's colorful. Beautiful. Aromatic. Tasty.
It makes me wonder why I lost this recipe for about 10 years.
Curried Tofu (or Chicken) with Couscous
(modified from Cooking Light, March 2000)
1 cup water
1 (14 oz) can light coconut milk, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup uncooked couscous (I use 1 box of plain couscous)
2 tablesppons flour
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tub extra firm tofu, cut into 16 triangles or 24 strips, pressed between 2 towels OR 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch strips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup julienne-cut carrots
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I almost always omit this, as I'm the only one in my house who likes it)
1) I recently discovered how to press the excess water out of the tofu. Doing so helps it to really brown up in the pan and get kinda crispy. About 30 minutes or more before you need to really start making dinner, cut the tofu into triangles or strips. Press it by layering a cutting board, clean dish towel, tofu, another clean dish towel, another cutting board, topped with a heavy skillet. Trust me.
2) About 30 minutes before you want to eat this amazing dish, combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, flour, and curry powder in a bowl. Dredge the tofu or chicken pieces to coat.
3) Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet (maybe the one that just pressed the water out of the tofu?) over medium-high heat. Add tofu or chicken and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Tofu will look browned and slightly crispy. Chicken will be moving toward done (no pink in middle!).
4) Meanwhile, combine water, 3/4 cup coconut milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
5) Back to the skillet, stir in the remaining coconut milk and any flour/curry mixture from step 2. Add carrot and raisins. Reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes or until this is looking good and creamy. Stir occasionally. The coconut milk will thicken a bit.
6) Serve the tofu (or chicken) over the couscous. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Isn't there something slightly exciting about serving cooked fruit for dinner?