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The Lighter Side

September 04, 2002|DONNA DEANE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

I'm often asked, "What do I do with tofu?" It seems plenty of people want to add it to their diets, since it's low in fat and high in protein, but they haven't got a clue as to how. Here's a simple yet flavorful recipe. Served with an aromatic rice, it makes for a healthful, substantial meal.

Silken or vacuum-packed tofu is usually found in the produce section of supermarkets. It comes in a variety of consistencies. Extra-firm is best for this recipe--it holds together in the sauce without getting mushy, as tofu sometimes can.

To enliven your rice, crush two or three green cardamom pods with the back of a knife and add to the rice while cooking. Soon you'll have a wonderful cardamom scent in the kitchen.

Serve this with basmati rice and lime wedges for garnish.

Curried Tofu

Active Work Time: 25 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour * Vegetarian

1 (12.3-ounce) carton extra-firm low-fat silken tofu

Nonstick cooking spray

1 tablespoon oil

2 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup minced ginger root

2 serrano chiles, chopped

3 tomatoes, diced

1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups water

Chopped cilantro

Place the tofu between paper towels, set a cutting board on top and then weight it with a bowl. Let the tofu drain, about 15 minutes. Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and drain on more paper towels. Pat dry.

Meanwhile, spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat the skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion, coriander and cumin seeds. Cook until the onions are lightly browned, stirring, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chiles and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, curry powder and salt, then add the water and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid has slightly thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in the tofu. Simmer 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.

4 servings. Each serving: 133 calories; 967 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 17 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 3.71 grams fiber.

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