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LOW-FAT COOKING

Tofu Muscles Out the Fat

May 30, 1996

Light tofu is the base for the dressing in this low-fat curried chicken salad that would traditionally be made with mayonnaise. At 3 grams of fat per carton, the tofu makes a big difference. Consider that mayonnaise has 11 grams of fat per tablespoon; for this salad, you would have to use about 1 1/4 cups, or 220 grams of fat. This salad takes just one package of light tofu--you cut 217 grams of fat by using it.

And if you're worried about the taste, don't. It was a hit in The Times Test Kitchen, and a blend of Indian spices ensures that you won't miss the mayonnaise.

To hold the fat content down even more, only white meat from the chicken breast and the whites of the hard-boiled eggs are used.

CHICKEN SALAD WITH SPICED TOFU DRESSING

SALAD

2 pounds chicken breasts

1 (1/4-inchithick) slice ginger root

2 pods cardamon

Salt

Black peppercorns

3 large red boiling potatoes, cooked and diced

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup fresh peas

1 pickling cucumber, cut in half, seeded and sliced

3 hard-boiled eggs, whites only, chopped

Simmer chicken in water to cover with ginger, cardamon pods and salt and peppercorns to taste, 25 to 30 minutes. Let chicken cool in broth 10 to 15 minutes. Remove skin and meat from bones, then cut meat into 1-inch chunks.

Lightly toss together chicken, potatoes, onion, garlic, peas, cucumber and hard-boiled egg whites in large bowl. Set aside.

TOFU DRESSING

1 (10 1/2-ounce box) light tofu

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

3 tablespoons nonfa milk or soy milk

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

Salt

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Cantaloupe and grapes make a great accompaniment for this salad, along with good French bread.

Blend tofu in blender or food processor until smooth. Toast cumin, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in small skillet until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir into tofu with milk, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric and lemon juice. Add salt to taste. Stir dressing into chicken. Cover and chill until serving time. Garnish with cilantro just before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

213 calories; 225 mg sodium; 52 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 0.75 gram fiber.

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