Cold, wet, dreary day. I love to cook 99% of the time, and then the remaining 1% of time, I am just done. Dinner seems like a huge chore, and yes, takeout is very tempting. I do yield to this temptation quite often, or more likely, J takes over dinner duty that day. He says he can see that look on my face and immediately takes charge of dinner that evening.
Well, a couple days ago was that day. I was about to dial for Teriyaki takeout, but then I made the mistake of opening the refrigerator and seeing two bunches of swiss chard staring back at me. Damn! I am going out of town this weekend (to DC, for the inauguration - more on that when I return), and the swiss chard is likely going to die a sad, wilting, slimy death. Oh no! Oh well, let me make something quick with it. Oh! protein - ah! here is a block of Tofu. Perfect!
Friends, this insane dialogue takes place in my head very very often. I usually tend not to cook from recipes, especially on weeknights. I am a huge fan of the 'kitchen sink' school of cooking (use whatever you have on hand). It is a much more efficient way of cooking. I know some of you (you know who you are) tend to set up their entire week's meal plan and then shop for ingredients. Nope not me. That is way too much organization for me. Plus, here is a perfect excuse why that does not work. The weekly CSA box is always a surpise, so you can't totally plan for it (especially the winter CSA as not much grows in Seattle at this time of the year). Its like a box of chocolates "you never know what you're gonna get'.
Anyway, I can promise you that this stew will warm your tummy, satisfy your tastebuds, and is oh-so nutritious and good for you. I served the stew with brown rice, but quinoa or couscous would also work nicely.
I am even more amazed that I actually was motivated enough to grab my camera and take pictures. But I think I know why I did it -- I always find that meals made in a hurry and with no agenda in particular always taste yummy....
Indian-spiced braised Swiss Chard with Tofu
2 bunches swiss chard (approx. 16 - 18 leaves)
1 block extra firm tofu, sliced in half and then cubed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, minced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup roasted cashews, for garnish
1. Trim the stalks from the swiss chard leaves. Set stalks aside. Cut the chard leaves crosswise into thin strips, and wash and drain thoroughly. Chop the stalks into a fine dice.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute a few minutes till golden brown. Now add the chard stalks. Saute 1-2 minutes more. Add the turmeric, garam masala, cumin powder, red chili powder, and salt. Saute a few minutes till fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook till mixture is pulpy.
3. Add the swiss chard leaves and cook on med-high a few minutes, just until the leaves wilt. Now add the tofu and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15 minutes till chard cooks down and the flavors meld together.
4. Serve stew alongside rice. Sprinkle with cashews and cilantro just before serving.