Monday, April 15, 2013

New Mexico Red Chile Tofu

Red Chile Tofu burrito with guac
My youngest 'Sprout' has been on a real kick for Red Chile Tofu lately.
I think I've made about six batches in the last couple weeks and, even though I probably shouldn't be let loose with a smart-phone, I posted pictures all over the Instagrams and Twitters - oddly enough, people keep asking for the recipe!
Yes, apparently I've never posted the recipe, and I'm not sure why, as it's a HUGE staple in this tofu-and-taco-eating household, but I'll share it here in a moment.

Taco Salad with Red Chile Tofu
and cheezy cashew cream.

This recipe is one of my favorites because my kids LOVE it, but also because it transforms plain, basic tofu into something just about anyone will eat willingly, even the avowed tofu-haters or skeptics. I also love how it takes advantage of the beautiful, rich, deep red chiles from New Mexico. They are not necessarily hot (depending on how hot a variety you choose), but flavorful and earthy. Recently, friends from New Mexico visited and brought us a huge bag and we've been using it liberally and happily.

Note: Powdered red chile is pure and simple, ground New Mexico red chile pepper pods (sometimes called red Hatch chiles); NOT the same product as the little jars of spicy, salty Tex-Mex style "chili powder" you'll find in the supermarket. (This is what I use, you can also find it in single packets).

This tofu cooks up flavorful and crumbly. It makes a wonderful filling for burritos, tacos, nachos or taco salad. It's a bit different than the spicy, tangy, tomato-based taco fillings you may be used to, but I think you'll find the rich, deep flavor of the red chiles quite addicting. The beauty of this tofu is that once made, it can be stored in the fridge several days, and used in so many ways. I use a mild red chile, so it's not spicy-hot at all, use a hotter variety if you prefer.

Red Chile Tofu

1 lb. block extra firm tofu, crumbled and mashed fairly fine
1 Tablespoon oil
3 Tablespoons Mild New Mexico powdered red chile or to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or orange juice for a sweeter, less acidic taste)
1/2 cup water

Tofu and seasonings
Heat well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add oil and crumbled tofu. Mix a bit to disperse oil throughout tofu.
Add dry spices. Mix lemon and water and pour over tofu. Mix and stir with a metal spatula. Let saute about 5 minutes and stir, scraping pan so tofu doesn't stick.

Continue to let tofu cook for about 5-6 minutes and stir, scraping the pan each time to scrape up dark bits and to keep tofu from sticking.

Red Chile Tofu, about half done

Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring and scraping at 5 minute intervals until moisture is mostly evaporated and tofu is evenly rich red with brown bits, and texture is crumbly.

Serve warm in any way you'd use "taco burger", or store in fridge for up to four days, reheating if desired (I LOVE it cold in taco salad).


karyn harding said...

Oh it sounds yummy! I also ordered some of the powdered red chile since I was not happy with the last kind I ordered...I can't wait to try this. As soon as I get the red chile powder I am making this and pigging out! Thank you!