My son Hugh is devoted to chilies. He has a huge collection of dried chilies in his kitchen and he uses them in all kinds of things. I, on the other hand, never know quite what to do with them and they sit in my pantry for ages. Last week he and his girlfriend Rebecca were here and she made a wonderful tofu dish using some chilies they had left here on a previous visit. I wish I could tell you which kind of chilies they were, but in the end I'm not really sure it matters. She used two smoky tasting chilies and one sweet one, but you can use any kind of chili you like.
She used up a spice rub that I had made up for another recipe, but if you don't want to make that, you can just add some rosemary, cumin, coriander and cinnamon to the marinade mixture. Rebecca let the chilies rehydrate for about half an hour, and then marinated the tofu for about another hour. You could do it in less time, but it's worth it to let the tofu soak up the flavour. There was a bit of sauce with this, and we served it over rice with some grilled asparagus on the side. If you don't have a grill, you could broil the tofu, or cook it in a pan, cooking it in the sauce.
Tofu with Chilies
3 chilies, 2 smoky, 1 sweet, rehydrated, water saved
Juice of 1 lime
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp Mediterranean spice rub recipe
2 tbsp thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 lb firm or extra firm tofu, sliced
1. In a large bowl place the chilies and add enough warm water to cover them. Set aside and allow the chilies to rehydrate. When they are rehydrated, remove them from the bowl and chop them into pieces. Return them to the bowl of water.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to marinate for at least half an hour, or up to 2 hours.
3. Heat a grill. In the meantime place the marinade in a small pot and cook over a medium heat, until it reduces by about 1/3 to make a sauce. Place the tofu slices on the grill and cook until hot through, turning once. Remove the tofu from the grill to a platter and pour the sauce over top. Serve immediately.