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The Vegetarian

Tri-Color Chili With a Tofu Surprise

September 22, 1988|DIANA SHAW | Shaw is a free-lance writer in Los Angeles.

Recently I called a friend to gloat over a bargain I'd gotten on yellow peppers. She heard me out, then said, "Sorry I can't share your excitement, but I wouldn't know what to do with them."

Mild, sweet yellow peppers can be used in any dish calling for a combination of peppers, or you can use them in place of green peppers for a subtler effect. Here, yellow peppers blend with sweet red peppers and the more assertive poblano chiles for a spicy seasonal dish.

TRI-COLOR CHILI

3 tablespoons corn oil

1 pound firm tofu, cubed

2 shallots, minced

4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and diced

1 sweet red pepper, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup white wine

2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Dash cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons chili powder

Fresh cooked corn kernels scraped from 4 ears

Cooked rice

Sourdough bread

Heat 1 tablespoon corn oil in large skillet and brown tofu quickly on all sides. Turn heat off and transfer tofu to paper towels to drain.

Pour off any liquid that may have accumulated in skillet. Add remaining 2 tablespoons corn oil and saute shallots and garlic until tender. Add poblano chiles, sweet red pepper and yellow pepper. Saute, stirring, 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, lemon juice, wine, basil, oregano, tomato paste, cayenne pepper and chili powder. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat until peppers are tender, about 5 minutes. Add corn and stir again. (Sauce may be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. If made ahead, don't brown tofu until ready to serve).

Slowly bring sauce to boil. Gently stir in tofu. Lower heat, cover and simmer gently until tofu is heated through, no more than 5 minutes. Do not cook too long or tofu will "bleed" and chili will be watery. Serve immediately with rice and/or sourdough bread. Makes 4 servings.

Note: Nigiri style tofu is preferred, available at health food stores.

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