CHARGRILLED TOFU STEAKS WITH THAI STICKY RICE
THIS RECIPE IS FROM MY COOKBOOK CONFIDENCE IN THE KITCHEN
500 g (2 ½ cups) glutinous rice (see tip)
500 g firm tofu, cut into thick slices
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely chopped
1 bird’s eye chilli
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar
3 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander stalks
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Thai basil sprigs
Soak the rice in water overnight.
To make the marinade, place the garlic, lemongrass, chilli and salt in a mortar and pound with a pestle to create a paste. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
Place the tofu in a glass or ceramic dish, pour over the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least a couple of hours or, better still, overnight.
The next day, add water to a large saucepan until it’s about one-quarter full. This is important – you don’t want the water touching the cone basket. Bring the water to a gentle simmer.
Drain the rice and place it in a Thai bamboo basket (see tip). Set the basket over the pan of water and cover the rice with a piece of muslin or baking paper, then find a random saucepan lid from your kitchen (don’t worry there is always one that fits) and create a seal. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender (the water may need to be topped up during cooking)
Give the rice a little fluff with a fork and transfer it to your serving dish or a traditional bamboo sticky rice container. Fluffing it will prevent it from going hard and crusty. Sticky rice does not have to be served piping hot so it is something you can make earlier if you like.
To cook the tofu steaks, heat a chargrill pan over medium-high heat or a barbecue grill plate to medium-hot. Grill the tofu steaks for 5 minutes on each side or until nicely charred.
Transfer the tofu steaks to a serving platter and add the lime, tomato wedges and Thai basil sprigs. Serve with a big spoonful of sticky rice.
Glutinous rice is available from supermarkets and Asian grocers. Traditionally, a Thai bamboo cone basket is used to steam it – you can find these at most Asian grocers.
It is possible to make this without soaking the rice first, but it will take a lot longer to cook…like 2 hours! You will have to keep checking the water level too, so it’s best to soak overnight if you can.