Saturday, October 22, 2011

Zesty Kale & Noodles with Fried Tofu

This is a recipe I'm proud of, not because it's a showstopper, but because it utilized 4 ingredients in my fridge that needed to be consumed. They were:

Anyway, this recipe is quick, very healthy if you omit the (ehem, fried) tofu. Nice penance for my last post, Swiss Chard Spatzele, which featured my friend and foe, heavy cream.

Zesty Kale & Noodles with Fried Tofu (serves 2)
For the Zesty Kale & Noodles:
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 dried ancho pepper, rehydrated and diced
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp or more red pepper flakes
  • 2 C kale, thoroughly cleaned, stemmed & torn into small pieces 
  • 2 C cooked macaroni noodles
  • juice & zest of 1 lime
  • salt & pepper to taste
1. Heat a bit of oil in a wok or sautee pan. Add the garlic & onion and stir for about 3 mins.
2. Add the ancho pepper and stir for a couple more mins. Add the beans,cumin & red pepper flakes and cook for about 4-5 mins over med-low heat.
3. Add the kale. If it sticks, add a very small amount of water. Increase the heat to medium and stir frequently until the kale is tender. Add the cooked noodles & incorporate into the kale mixture. 
4. Salt & pepper to taste. Just before serving, add the lime juice and zest. 

For the Fried Tofu:
  • Peanut Oil (or other oil with a high smoking point)
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu, pressed & drained, cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces, about 1 1/2 inches in length
  • 1/2 C fine corn meal
  • salt & pepper
1. Heat the oil (3/4 inch) in a heavy fry pan over med-high heat (about 375 degrees on my stove)
2. Mix together the corn meal and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Thoroughly coat each tofu piece in the cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess.
3. Fry the tofu, careful not to overcrowd, about 3 mins on each side, until golden brown. 
4. Drain, and serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce. I recommend salsa verde 

Kitchen Notes: When I made this, I didn't tear up the kale adequately for my tastes, making it rather tough. Tearing the kale into bite-sized pieces should eliminate this. The fried tofu tastes best when served immediately. The breading for the tofu is underseasoned--this is intentional, since I have such a powerhoused sauce, if you're serving with something more bland, add some garlic or cayenne or other good stuff to the breading.

Verdict? As a weeknight dinner, this was great, though the tofu is a bit time consuming. The kale has a nice, fresh, zippy flavor, and the consistency of the tofu is perfect--very cripsy outside, and creamy inside. Yum!

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