Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Tofu in Spinach Gravy
by mcgonagirl

Though witches and wizards have a rather pagan reputation, it doesn't mean that's true — note that at Hogwart's, they observe Christmas in much the same way muggles do. So we can assume they have a Christian tradition, or they at least know about it. Previously, we have presented an Easter group of recipes and stories, thus we assume that some wizards and those at Hogwart's also observe Lent, the 40 days of fasting and sacrifice leading up to Easter. This can typically include giving up such things as meat in their daily fare for at least part of the time.

But it doesn't mean Lent is austere or boring! For years, the the Two Fat Saxon Witches have given dinner parties at this time of year which were completely meatless and totally satisfying and successful. Though no one knows where the pair really came from, they are formidable, respected, and they know a lot about food and cooking. An invitation to one of their meals is a high honor, indeed.

One year, they invited several ministry workers and their families for an Indian feast; they did not reveal that no meat would be served. It was highly successful in that no one seemed to miss the flesh they were so used to eating, because the food was so substantial and interesting that the guests were simply lost in the deliciousness of it all.

Ron was telling Harry and Hermione about the feast of no meats; his friends were incredulous! So to prove it was true, he got a recipe from his mother that she had managed to get from the Two Fat Witches themselves. The original Indian version is made with a low-fat cheese, but it's rather better with ... tofu! When Ron was done serving up the dish, his friends had to agree — with food like this, Lent is no deprivation, but an opportunity for new ideas and taste sensations!

  • 24 oz / 675 g firm or extra firm tofu, blotted* and cut into cubes about ½ to 1-in / 1 to 2 cm
  • 2 lbs / 900 g frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons powdered ginger
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cups milk (amount varies)
  • salt, to taste
Be sure to start preparing the tofu about an hour before you need it! Also, follow the microwaving instructions on your frozen spinach. If you don't have any, here's the general procedure: cut a hole in the spinach bag to allow steam to escape and place the whole bag in a microwave-proof bowl and cook for a couple of minutes on "high power" till they are hot and steamy. Add more time if needed. Don't drain the spinach.

In a big skillet or pot, heat the vegetable oil till it's smoking, and toss in the onions till they are almost soft, then toss in the garlic and cook till that's softened, too. Add the ginger, curry powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook till the smell of the spices gets pretty strong and toasty.

Add the spinach and as much of the cooking water as needed to be able to stir up the whole concoction. Add enough milk to loosen the texture so it's more like a thick gravy rather than a pile of spinach. Add salt to taste. Then carefully stir in the blotted* tofu cubes, being careful not to break them up. This can sit for a few minutes to let the tofu soak up some of the liquid; if it gets too thick, add a bit more milk.

Serves 8 as a meal, about 12 or more as a side dish.

    * Prepare Tofu for Cooking by Blotting
  • Firm or Extra-firm Tofu
  • lots of paper towels or clean dishtowels
  • two baking trays
  • about 4 (or more) big cans of food, any type (you won't be opening them, you need them for weights, so make sure they are about the same weight as each other)
Put about 6 layers or more of paper towels onto one baking tray. Slice your tofu into equal depth slabs and lay them down on the paper towels. Be sure to distribute them evenly around the tray. Lay 6 or more layers additional paper toweling over the laid-out tofu, then put the other baking tray on top of that. Place the big cans evenly around the top tray so that the tofu is forced to give up the water it soaked up while being stored in water (that's the only way to store tofu, by the way.) Leave for about an hour before putting away the cans of food and baking trays and throwing away the paper towels (or tossing the formerly clean dishtowels into the washer). Your tofu is now ready to be cut down further, or breaded and fried, or sliced up for stirfry, etc. Most of the time, you will want to make sure there is some liquid for the tofu to soak up, like a marinade, or a sauce, or even in a soup or stew. Unlike meat, it doesn't need long cooking, so put it in near the end of the recipe for those types of things.

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