July 11, 2008

Thai Tofu on Lemongrass Skewers

1/2 cup roughly chopped Thai basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into bits
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 inch knob ginger, grated
1 inch knob galanga, grated
1 Thai chile pepper, minced
1 teaspoon palm sugar

to serve:
2 zucchini, sliced horizontally in 1 inch chunks
8 lemongrass stalks
shiitake or crimini mushrooms
2 lb extra firm tofu, cut horizontally into 1 1/2 inch slabs
2 medium onions, cut into wedges
olive oil

Line a cutting board with a paper towel. Place the tofu slabs on the paper towel. Top with a second paper towel and cutting board. Place something heavy (like canned goods or a pot, I used our molcajete) on top of the second cutting board. Allow to press for 15 minutes, then cut each slab into 3 equal cubes. Pressing the tofu, while it seems sort of unnecessary, helps compact the tofu so it doesn't fall apart on the skewer and allows more of the marinade to penetrate.

Place cubes in a resealable bag along with the marinade ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but up to 8.

Meanwhile, remove the outer leaves of the lemongrass to reach the harder "core" and if whole, chop off the top and the bottom 4 inches or so. Cut one end into a point. Thread the tofu and the vegetables on the lemongrass. Brush with olive oil.

Place on the hottest part of the grill and cook until warmed through, making sure each side cooks evenly.

The tofu and vegetables should caramelize. Serve hot.

My thoughts:

my grill friday

Making lemongrass skewers was a time consuming operation, I have to admit. But! It was a worthy use of my time. They made excellent skewers which infused the tofu and vegetables with a wonderful flavor, completely destroying the myth that tofu is bland. You could make them on bambook skewers but you'd really be missing out. The lemongrass skewers really took the dish to a new level.

When you make this, take care that you place cubes of tofu and pieces of zucchini of roughly the same size together so they will cook evenly. If you are having troubles cooking the zucchini thoroughly, cover the grill for a minute or two, it is difficult to overcook the tofu.