One of the things I love about going to Maui is the familiarity and feeling of home. I’ve been spoiled and have grown up travelling there…a lot (thank you gramma and gramps for smart investing!) and we have our own routine…or traditions when we’re there. One of our traditions is our Maui breakfast. Fresh fruit, cottage cheese, toast and maybeee a mimosa or two. Buttttt when we went in October, my uncle Gord, who was a first time visitor took me by surprise. He was eating curried tofu for breakfast. FOR BREAKFAST, GUYS.
I thought it was totally weird, and quite frankly the smell of curry in the morning confused my senses. Then Gord gave me a bite of it…and it was AWESOME. I’m not surprised because he is an uber creative cook, and his food is always delicious. So obviously I had him show me step by step exactly how he made this, because I had to know how he did it.
Gord was creative with his recipe in Maui. Sometimes he put in pineapple or papaya..sometimes limes…but he showed me how to make it with lemon, and I’ve never looked back because you all know how much I love lemon. You may be thinking “lemon and curry, that’s weird” but trust me, it works. But you could totally use lime if you wish! This has become my new favourite tofu dish!
I’ve made his recipe quite a bit, and have made a few tweaks and twists to make it my own. I’ve played around with different techniques for the tofu, different kinds of tofu, cornstarch vs. no cornstarch, veggies, and spices etc. and I finally have it down to exactly how I love it! And while I still think it’s weird for breakfast, and do not eat it as such, it makes a great quick dinner and make ahead lunch!
Tofu can seem intimidating and I used to think it was hard to work with. The best tofu trick I’ve found over the year is pressing and then cornstarch. To press your tofu, cut it into cubes and place it on a paper towel covered plate. Cover it with more paper towel and then another plate on top with something heavy…like a cast iron pan or cans of beans. Let is sit for as little as 15 minutes to as long as you want! Pressing is important because if it’s too wet, it won’t crisp up or soak up the sauce. Wet tofu = bland soggy tofu. Once your tofu is pressed, toss it in some seasoned cornstarch and BAM you are right on track for crispy, firm, delicious tofu! I was excited to be able to share my cornstarch trick with Gord, a seasoned tofu connoisseur.
Now that I’ve blabbed on and wasted a good 2 minutes of your day, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of this. I love this recipe, not only because it was developed and shared by a loved one, but it’s super quick, cheap, and easy to make. The ingredients are things that most people have in their pantry (minus the tofu maybe), and can be thrown together last minute. I like to make a batch of this and then portion it out for lunches at work. The tofu does lose some of it’s crispness overnight, but with that citrus-y curry sauce on it, who cares?!
It’s super flavourful, the tartness from the lemons, the spice from the curry, the salt from the soy sauce…it’s all so good! Not only does the cornstarch help crisp up the tofu, but it also thickens the sauce as you cook it, giving you a beautiful, rich, spicy coating. Following in Gord’s footsteps I like to add the chopped lemon up after I juice it, which gives it some more lemony flavours as it cooks and I think it just looks nice. This can be served over rice or quinoa and with a sprinkling of cilantro it’s absolute perfection.
If you’re not a tofu fan, you can definitely try making this with chicken! And if you’re new to cooking tofu, this is a great place to start!
This is my favourite tofu recipe and a must try. It’s:
- Quick, easy and made with accessible ingredients;
- Vegan, but easy to switch up for meat eaters;
- Easily adaptable to your palate (add more or less curry);
- Easy to switch up the veggies;
- Cooked in a rich, thick sauce;
- Lemony, spicy and just overall incredibly flavourful;
- Initially developed by my super cool vegan uncle Gord;
- Straight up delicious!
Citrusy Curry Tofu (Vegan)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil, or cooking oil of your choice
- 350 grams extra or super firm tofu, cubed and pressed
- 2-3 tbps. curry powder (to your taste)
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce (use tamari or coconut soy sauce if you’re gf)
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 juiced lemon, cut into large chunks (quartered or eights)
- 4 tbsp. water or coconut milk
- 1 cup frozen veggies of your choice (I like broccoli and peas)
- Sriracha, to taste
- Cooked rice or quinoa, to serve
- Cilantro, to serve
Start by cubing and pressing your tofu. To do this, place cubed tofu on a paper towel lined plate. Place another paper towel on top of the tofu, then place another plate on top. To press it, place a heavy object like a cast iron pan or canned goods on top of the plate and let sit for at least 15 minutes to as long as you like!
Once the tofu is pressed and dry, mix cornstarch and pepper. Toss the tofu in the cornstarch and shake off excess cornstarch. Do not salt your cornstarch as we’ll be using soy sauce later on, otherwise your dish will be far too salty.
In a large frying pan, heat up oil on medium-high heat. Add the coated tofu, and let cook until the tofu becomes crispy and starts to brown on all sides, about 5-10 minutes. Don’t toss the tofu around right away, let it sit and cook so it becomes crispy before you start tossing it, and don’t continually toss it. The more you touch it, the less time it will have to get crisp!
Once the tofu has become crispy and started to brown, add curry (to your taste), soy sauce, lemon juice, chunked up lemon, water/coconut milk, veggies and sriracha (optional). Turn onto low/medium and Let cook until the sauce has thickened and veggies are cooked through.
Serve over rice or quinoa, and top with fresh cilantro. Perfect for quick dinner or lunch…
or breakfast, if you’re Gord. 🙂