Words and recipe courtesy of Bryant Terry, author of , Afro-Vegan, published by Ten Speed Press on April 8, 2014.
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Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Soundtrack “Green Chimneys” by Thelonious Monk from Underground
14 to 16 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 cup finely diced white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
11⁄2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted (see sidebar, page 9) and ground
6 cardamom pods, toasted (see sidebar, page 9), then seeds removed and ground
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juices
1 heaping tablespoon chunky peanut butter
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
3 cups vegetable stock, homemade (page 42) or store-bought
12 ounces mustard greens, stemmed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
I was inspired to make this dish after seeing a recipe for Tanzanian fish curry in The Taste of Africa, by Rosamund Grant and Josephine Bacon. My version is pretty straightforward: the tofu makes it hearty and satisfying, the greens are tender and give the dish a nourishing feel, and the curried broth brings everything together.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the tofu in a bowl, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Gently toss the tofu with clean hands until evenly coated. Transfer to the lined baking sheet, spreading the tofu in a single layer. Bake, turning once after 15 minutes, for 30 minutes, until firm.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 table-spoons oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until they pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and ground ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, peanut butter, and jalapeño and stir until well combined. Stir in the stock, mustard greens, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Gently stir in the tofu and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Taste and season with more salt and black pepper if desired. Serve garnished with the cilantro.