Not known for being particularly flavoursome, tofu takes on new light when paired with Middle Eastern spices. A relatively simple dish (albeit, sporting a restaurant-quality feel), this is modern food for the inspired vegetarian. For a slightly more decadent option substitute the tofu with good quality haloumi.
- 300 g firm tofu, sliced in half horizontally
- ⅓ cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and stems
- salt and black pepper
- 160 g (1 medium) zucchini, coarsely grated
- juice and finely grated rind of 1 lemon, plus extra wedges to serve
- 3 tsp tahini (or to taste)
- 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
- 2 tsp baharat (see Note)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ bunch radishes, sliced
- 1 tomato, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Wrap the tofu in paper towel and place between two plates. Set aside until ready to cook to allow as much water to drain out as possible. Replace the paper towel after 5 minutes.
Combine the quinoa, 200 ml water and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for 3–5 minutes until tender. Drain any water that remains. Add the lemon rind, 1–2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the coriander leaves and stems. Season to taste and toss to combine. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, for the zucchini hummus, use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible. Transfer zucchini to the bowl of a small food processor with the tahini, garlic, 1 teaspoon of baharat and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste and process until smooth. Add enough lemon juice to balance the flavour, about 2–3 teaspoons.
Dust the tofu with 1 teaspoon of baharat and rub well to coat both sides. Season to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook for 5–6 minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp.
Add the tomato and radish to the quinoa and divide between plates. Top with tofu and spoon over the zucchini hummus. Serve with lemon wedges.
• Baharat, also known as Lebanese seven-spice, is available from Middle Eastern food stores, continental delis and quality spice merchants.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Peta Gray. Creative concept by Lou Fay.