Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Corn Pudding and Green Pumpkin Seed Mole

I made the tofu before, about a year ago, and now I have totally got the breading down. The trick that I use is I coat the tofu first in whole wheat flour, then dip it in the soy milk and finally coated in the cornmeal. The recipe says to only to dip it in the soy milk/cornstarch mixture but when I do that, it doesn't really coat nicely. I've also heard that ditching the flour and the soy milk and just dipping it in plain yogurt, followed by the breading mixture would work just as well.

The pumpkin seed mole reminded me a lot of the So Good, So Green sauce I made a couple weeks ago with the seitan kabobs. There's no real work needed for this except for a quick roasting of the pumpkin seeds. But I do believe the corn pudding was the star of this meal. The coconut milk gives it a slight sweet taste and the jalapeƱos bring a little spice to the dish. I really do wish I made more because after I give some to my mom and the rest to my boyfriend, I only really get two small servings. I think I might just have to go to the market and buy more corn to make another batch!

Chili Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu
Time : 20 minutes ( not including pressing tofu )

* Corn or vegetable oil for frying
* 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
* 1 cup soy or rice milk
* 2 Tb cornstarch
* 1 cup cornmeal
* 2 Tb chile powder
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1/4 tsp cayenne
* 1 Tb grated lime zest
* 1 1/2 tsp salt

1. Slice the tofu width wise into eight slices, then cut each of those slices into half diagonally - from the upper left corner to the lower right corner - so that you have sixteen long triangles. Set aside.

2. Combine the soy milk and cornstarch in a wide, shallow bowl. Mix vigorously with a fork until the cornstarch is mostly dissolved.

3. In another shallow bowl, toss together the cornmeal, spices, lime zest and salt.

Frying Directions
1. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. To test if the oil is ready, sprinkle in a pinch of batter. when the batter sizzles and bubbles form rapidly around it, you're good to go.

2. Dip each individual tofu slice in the soy milk mixture. Drop it in the cornmeal with your dry hand and use your other hand to dredge it in the mixture, so that it's coated on all sides. Transfer the tofu to the skillet in two batches so as not to crowd the pan. Fry tofu for 3 minutes on one side, use tongs to flip over each piece, and fry for 2 more minutes. Drain the fried tofu on a clean paper bag or paper towels.

Baking Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Place the coated tofu on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray with oil until lightly coated. Flip over and spray the other side. Bake for 12 minutes on each side.

Southwestern Corn Pudding
Serves 6
Time : 1 hour 20 minutes

* 2 Tb corn oil
* 4 cups fresh corn ( about 6 ears )
* 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped finely
* 2 jalapenos, chopped finely
* 1 cup coconut milk
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1/2 cup cornmeal
* 2 Tb pure maple syrup
* 1 cup finely chopped scallions
* 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp cayenne

1. Preheat the oven 350 F and lightly grease an 8 inch square baking casserole dish. A cast-iron pan would work here, too.

2. Saute the corn, bell pepper, and jalapenos in a large skillet for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, the corn should be very light browned. Meanwhile, stir together the cornstarch and coconut milk until the cornstarch has mostly dissolved.

3. When the corn and peppers are ready, transfer 2 cups of them to a blender or food processor. Add the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture, and pulse about twenty times, until the mixture is mostly pureed but not completely smooth.

4. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mix with the remaining corn, cornmeal, maple syrup, scallions, cilantro, salt, and cayenne.

5. Pour the batter into a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Green Pumpkin Seed Mole
Makes a little over 2 cups
Time : 20 minutes

* 1 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
* 4 whole black peppercorns
* 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
* 1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
* 1 ( 7 to 8 ounce ) can tomatillos ( if you can't find them canned, fresh works great too, about 5 to 6, wrapper skin removed and boiled until they turn a darker shade of green..about 6 to 7 minutes )
* 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, coarsely chopped
* 2 scallions, white parts discarded, chopped coarsely
* 2 lettuce leaves ( such as romaine or green leaf ), torn into pieces
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
* 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Toss the pumpkin seeds, turning occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a food processor or blender ( a food processor works better ). Add the peppercorns and pulse into a coarse powder.

2. Add everything else save the olive oil and grind into a thick paste. Add the olive oil and blend for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the processor to incorporate all the ingredients. Add salt to taste ( if may not even be necessary ).


  1. everything looks so good! i love deep fried anything! i wish i could do more at my apt, but my kitchen is really small so i kind try not to do much.

    if you see my small kitchen you will be shocked!!! hahaha

  2. Oh man, I wish I had that for dinner right now!

  3. Toshiko, my kitchen is small too! But I am sure yours is smaller haha Small Kitchens = Cozy Kitchen : ]

    Thank you VeganCraftastic. It was very yummy!

  4. Beautiful, golden tofu and the corn pudding looks divine. Wow...