Happy Valentine’s Day!
While the blogosphere blows up with desserts, here is a fun way to add even more chocolate to your meals. Cocoa jerk tofu tacos. No stranger to brightly flavoured jerk foods (e.g. Jamaican Jerk Plantain Soup and the ever classic Jamaican Jerk Tempeh Wraps), I have never seen it with the addition of chocolate.
The recipe is courtesy of Superfoods for Life, Cocoa which is a vegan cookbook devoted to adding more chocolate to your meals. The book explains the health benefits of chocolate and shows you ways to incorporate it into your breakfast, lunch and dinner, including desserts (obviously). Sweet and savoury.
This has been my favourite recipe so far, and I probably would not have tried it had Sayward not raved about it. The perfect balance of tangy, spicy (not too spicy) with flavourful spices (allspice, oregano, cinnamon) and the raw cocoa powder merely lent a deeper flavour. This did not taste like chocolate. It was also really simple to put together, with a quick marinade mixed in a baking dish which was then baked altogether. I served it as tacos with a spoonful of mashed avocado but Matt also recommends eating it with a side of rice, beans and/or plantains. Rob doesn’t like onions too much, so if you are like him, reduce or replace the onions with more bell peppers.
It took me awhile to review this cookbook because I quickly realized it is hard to eat chocolate so often. Even with the savoury meals, sometimes I got tired with my leftovers prematurely so I had to space them out. I will also admit was not that adventurous to try all of Matt’s suggestions yet (bana ghanoush with cocoa powder, cocoa coleslaw, choco-spinach lasagna). However, it just goes to show you how novel some of these recipes truly are.
I wish the cookbook was organized more intuitively for finding the recipes, but I cannot determine the method to their madness. I think they are organized based on health benefits (ie, preventing stroke, diabetes, etc). The chapters are labelled as such: Heart-Healthy Cacao: Little Bean, Lots of Benefits and Cacao on the Brain: From Stroke Prevention to Cognitive Function.
Here is a sample of the recipes shared elsewhere:
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite unusual way to enjoy chocolate. The winner will be selected at random on February 22, 2015. Good luck!
PS. I am sharing this with Vegetable Palette.
Tasty Cocoa Jerk Tofu
Matt’s note: Not too spicy,and full of flavor, cacao makes magic with Caribbean cuisine! Soybeans are full of isoflavones, the phytochemical that may be responsible for soybeans’ ability to lower cholesterol and reduce cancer risk. When you combine them here with cacao, you have a powerful phytochemical plate!
FOR THE SAUCE:
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon each black pepper, cinnamon, and allspice
2 tablespoons (28 ml) hot sauce (I used sriracha)
1/3 cup (27 g) cocoa powder (use raw for a fattier, brighter flavor) (I used raw cocoa powder)
1/4 cup (60 ml) tamari
1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable broth
2 to 3 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon (21 g) agave nectar
2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons (32 g) hoisin or plum sauce, tamarind, or a similar sauce (I used tamarind concentrate)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
FOR THE TOFU:
16 ounces (455 g) firm tofu
1 onion, sliced
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, each sliced
1. TO MAKE THE SAUCE: Blend together the sauce ingredients in a blender and set aside.
2. To make the tofu: Cut the tofu block into 4 sections and then cut each of these into 4 strips. Mix the tofu with the vegetables and sauce in a casserole dish or other flat-bottomed vessel and allow to sit for an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 ̊F (200 ̊C, gas mark 6).
4. Add the tofu and bake, turning once, for 30 minutes, adding a bit more liquid if you need to or want this dish to be saucier. Increase the heat to broil and broil for 5 to 7 minutes to finish.
Suggestions: Serve this dish with seasoned black beans and rice. Some fried plantains would work well, too! Garnish with grated chocolate and scallions if desired. (I used them as tacos with a side of mashed avocado)