Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By JEFF PETERSON
If you love coconut, you will love this dish. It's got quite the island flavor and theme to it.
You will use shredded coconut, coconut oil and coconut milk. I had no idea how healthy the fruit is. Coconut is high in fiber and has amino acids.
If that's not enough, it is excellent for immunity. Pacific islanders actually call the coconut the cure for all illness. The main part of this dish is basically a tofu steak. I know a lot of folks think tofu is gross. Give it a try. It basically takes on the taste of whatever you are cooking.
In this case, use your favorite barbecue sauce. Grilled tofu with barbecue sauce is pretty good, but it's pretty healthy too. It will lower your cholesterol, it is rich in calcium and vitamin E and it's got protein.
I won't lie to you, prep time, and then cooking time, could take you over an hour, but coconut rice with grilled tofu is worth the wait and work. Our family loved this dish, and I hope you will too. Enjoy that vegan thing.
COCONUT RICE WITH GRILLED TOFU
1 package extra-firm or firm tofu (I used Sol-Cuisine organic brand)
Cooking oil, for brushing
Herbamare or salt, for seasoning
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dry/uncooked short grain brown rice
1 can light coconut milk
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Sprinkle of nutmeg
Barbecue sauce of your choice, optional
Mint leaves for garnish
Remove tofu from package and rinse with water. Press the tofu to drain water. After pressing, slice the tofu block down the middle, lengthwise, to make two halves. Now slice each piece diagonally to make 4 triangles. Brush each side with cooking oil and then season generously.
If you don't enjoy plain tofu, try using a marinade before cooking. Preheat oven to 300. Toast shredded coconut for 8 to 12 minutes, until golden. After baked, set aside. Rinse brown rice in colander and then place into a medium-sized pot. Add one can coconut milk (equal to 13/4 cups), then stir.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover with lid and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until most of the coconut milk is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat, keep lid on and let it "steam" for another 10 minutes or so. Stir in brown sugar and coconut oil.
When it is ready, garnish with toasted shredded coconut.
To cook the tofu, grease the pan or griddle with a cooking oil or spray. Grill the tofu for about 5 minutes on each side. You can add a little barbecue sauce, but be sure not to overcook the tofu or it will be dry.
To serve, spoon coconut rice on a plate and sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg. Add grilled tofu next and then spoon over a generous amount of pineapple salsa. Sprinkle everything with more toasted coconut and garnish with mint leaves. Serve with a bit of barbecue sauce, if desired.
Jeff Peterson anchors the 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. news on WGME-TV and is a vegan.