Turkish-Inspired Sweet and Savory Tofu

5 May
First Slice

First slice wasn’t pretty, but it was still delicious.

So I’ve been MIA. Down a rabbit hole. Out of the kitchen and out of commission.

This week, however, I’m on the upswing. Feeling lighter and bouncier and frickin’ hungry! I’m on a mission to resume my vegan ways. I wanted something delectable. Something to make me lick my lips and my fingertips. I wanted sweet AND savory (why has this become a constant dilemma of mine?).

I wanted baklava. But with meat. And not baklava.

This time around, I had no recipes, no input, just memories. I remember a particular date, circa 2003 or so, Chicago, IL. This little spot in Wrigleyville, I believe it was. I just remember how delicious the food was. It had traces of cinnamon and earth. DELICIOUS! And that is what I wanted in my mouth. Cinnamon also happened to be the item for our weekly food challenge this week. So win/win for everyone.

I had originally planned to wrap the phyllo dough or mold it into cups, but when it came down to it, layered just worked better. No complaints when it was in my mouth neither. Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you. This dish is heavily spiced and rather simple to make. Unless you make your own dough, but I wouldn’t dare.

Just some of the ingredients

Just a few of the ingredients…

What I Used
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small knob of ginger, sliced
3 cinnamon sticks

1 container of extra firm tofu
1 1/2 cups of no-chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
garlic, to taste
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
tbsp tamari
1/4 tsp Ethiopian spice
1 tsp lemongrass
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 roasted bell pepper
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup mediterranean apricots, chopped
1/4 cup coconut, finely shredded
salt, to taste
2 tbsp melted butter
20 sheets of phyllo dough
Dukkah (I used pre made from Trader Joe’s)

What I Did

First, do that whole drain and marinate thing with the tofu. i let it sit in the no chicken broth for about 30 minutes whole. Next time, I would mash it up and let it sit in the broth. While that is marinating, I put the potatoes, ginger and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan to cook. I didn’t let the potatoes get super cooked, just enough so they aren’t still hard.

Next, I sauteed the onions in oil until translucent and added a ton of garlic. Add the tofu, complete with the broth to the mix and let simmer for about 15 minutes. I then drained the potatoes, ginger and cinnamon sticks. I removed the cinnamon, but added the potatoes and ginger to the tofu along with the nutritional yeast, tamari and all of the spices. By leaving the ginger in slices, you’ll get nice gingery bursts throughout the dish. You can always minced or dice it if you’d prefer. Let that simmer until the liquid soaks up and the yeast fattens the mixture up a bit. Your potatoes will mush a bit. If you want them to remain firm, add them with the fruit at the end. This simmered in total around 40 minutes. No liquid, add the bell pepper, raisins, apricots and coconut.Simmer another 5-10 minutes, taste and salt.

The mixture

Next is the tricky part. Grab your 9X13 baking dish. I only had a 8X11 and my ends were upturned and crispy. Pretty, but a royal mess. Spray the bottom of your pan or oil it, your preference and layer the phyllo spraying after every sheet, just like you’re making baklava. After 10 sheets, layer the mixture until it’s even and covering the bottom. you don’t want too thick a layer, but the amount made should be just right. Finish by layering the remainder of the sheets, continuing to spray after each sheet. Once all the layers have been made, pour melted button on the top and sprinkle with Dukkah. If you don’t have anything that “fancy”, sesame seeds would also look really lovely as would additional coconut!

Bake for 45 minutes (or until browned) at 350 and voila. You’re done.

Upclose Pic of Dish

Finished Product


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