I’m always on the lookout for vegetarian entrees that my whole family can get down with which is no small feat. We eat a lot of fried tofu tossed into noodle bowls or stir fried with broccoli but I know there’s a bigger world of tofu possibilities out there so I lit up when I saw Mark Bittman’s tofu “chorizo.” This is a double win because my husband has sworn off pork and chorizo in general is off the list. Chorizo is so freaking versatile that it bums me out not to have it in the repertoire. Rejoice! This treatment of tofu is great and I’m already thinking of other ways to use. I found a recipe for tofu and potato tacos in The Washington Post so I took influences from both and came up with this adapted approach.
For the tofu chorizo
2 tablespoons olive oil
2- 12 ounce blocks of firm tofu
1 small onion diced
1 tablespoon of minced garlic (I use a microplane)
1 1/2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin (even better if you have the time is roasted cumin. toast 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant. remove seeds to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind to a powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons of oregano
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the tacos
1 1/2 lbs of potatoes (I used new potatoes but you can also use russets)
1/2 head of cabbage, red or green, thinly shredded
8 ounces queso fresca, cheddar or monterey jack, shredded
2 cups cilantro leaves
sour cream or greek yogurt
If you have time, remove the the tofu blocks from the packaging and wrap in a double layer of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Place a plate on top of the blocks and weight with a couple of cans of something heavy like beans or tomatoes for 5 – 10 minutes. This helps remove some of the water from the tofu making it easier and faster to crisp up while frying. You can also cook it directly from the package but it takes more time.
While the tofu is draining, cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes and boil for 8-10 minutes in salted water until tender. Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat and fry potatoes until nicely browned. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Crumble the tofu into the pan breaking it up into small pieces. Basically until it resembles crumbled sausage. Cook tossing occasionally until browned, about 20-30 minutes.
Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and oregano and cook for another 5-10 minutes until spices lose their powdery taste and are well incorporated. Season with more salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the vinegar. Add potatoes and stir. Mash up a few of the potatoes to vary the texture. Turn off heat.
Warm the tortillas either by wrapping in tin foil and heating in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes or toss directly on a gas burner and lightly brown flipping over several times to keep from burning. The second method is tastier in my opinion but takes more effort. If you decide on the gas grilling method, preheat the oven to 200 and place a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil in the oven. As you cook the tortillas, place them on the sheet under the aluminum foil to keep them warm.
This is a make your own enterprise so place chorizo/potato mixture, cabbage, radishes, cheese, sour cream, and cilantro in separate bowls on the the table and serve with warmed tortillas. Cuban black beans and rice make a great accompaniment.