I ate lots of candy during and after the Halloween party, resulting in a craving for something fresh to eat and plenty of excess energy with which to prepare it. We had a can of black beans in the cupboard that Michael picked up at Piedemontes, so we searched through our recipe books for something new and Mexican-themed to try. Eventually we picked out black bean tofu tacos from Ken Charney's The Bold Vegetarian Chef, extending ourselves to some salsa too.
The salsa recipe is inspired by one in Kurma Dasa's World Vegetarian Food, my main alteration being to use canned chipotles and half a teaspoon of their abodo sauce. The abodo sauce adds a fantastic smoky flavour to everything it touches but packs a mighty chili punch, so its use is always a delicate balance. The black bean tofu taco filling also had a bit of bite: thus the accompanying salad of iceberg lettuce, red capsicum and avocado was a fresh and cooling contrast. I dressed the salad with a bit of pepper and lots of lemon juice, and washed it all down with a Corona (with another lemon wedge floating in the bottle neck, of course). Michael and I were both thoroughly satisfied by this meal, and we'll certainly be making it again in the future.
(inspired by New Mexico Chili and Tomato Salsa in Vegetarian World Food by Kurma Dasa)
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Mix a 400g can of crushed tomatoes, one finely chopped chipotle, half a teaspoon of abodo sauce, a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of brown sugar in an oven-proof dish. (Substitute other chilli options as convenient.) Bake for about half an hour, until the mixture thickens and caramelises slightly. Stir regularly as it bakes, scraping the darkened bits back into the salsa.
Black Bean Tofu Tacos
(based on a recipe from The Bold Vegetarian Chef by Ken Charney)
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 large green chilies
1 large onion, sliced finely
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon salt
400g can black beans
300g firm silken tofu, cut into cubes
Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the core. Place the tomato halves cut side down on a tray and grill on a rack about 30cm from the heat source, until the skins blacken. Once they're cool, pull off the skins and coarsely chop, keeping all the juice.
Dry-roast the garlic and chilies in a frypan. Take the garlic out when the skin gets brown spots, and then the chilies after the skin's blackening all over. Cool and peel, remove the chili stems and finely chop them. Mush up the garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle.
Saute the onion in the olive oil until it's soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic/chili mix, along with the oregano, cumin seeds, sugar and salt. Stir it all up for about a minute, then add the beans and tomatoes (and all of the tomato juice). Keep cooking until you're happy with the thickness of the mix.
Gently stir in the tofu and simmer for a couple of minutes. While this is happening heat up the tortillas, either in a hot frypan or microwave. To serve, spoon the bean tofu mixture onto the totillas and roll them up. Garnish with salsa and get some fresh salad going on the side.