Ras el Hanout is a North African dry rub, with dried peppers, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and my favourite of all, rose petals and lavender. I love the idea of eating flowers, so byronesque, beyond romantic. You can get it in North African shops and, increasingly, supermarkets, which where I got mine.
Tofu is like a sponge for flavourful foods. I’m sure the flavours would develop beautifully if you had time to marinate the tofu for several hours, but I did mine on the fly, giving it 20 minutes after the veg had first gone in the oven, and it still had a surprising depth of flavour. I used to think that pressing tofu to get rid of the water was a throwback, but it actually vastly improves the consistency of the grilled steaks. (I think I may have been confusing it with salting aubergines.)
What this recipe is good for:
A. was doing his first triathalon, so we wanted something lean but tasty for dinner on Saturday to get him prepped. It was a short version of sprint distance (400m swim, 20k bike and 5k run), so he didn’t feel he needed an absolute mass of food or any carbo-loading. The colourful veg provided nutrients, and along with tofu and brown rice were a perfectly balanced meal.
1 block firm or extra firm tofu
3ish tbsp ras el hanout
1 You need to press your tofu to get rid of some of the water. Drain the stuff in the packet away and give the block a careful squeeze over the sink. I then placed it on a plate with another plate on top – plonked on the heaviest thing I could find (the pestle and mortar) and left it for 15 minutes. Drain the water from the bottom plate into the sink.
2 Cut the block into even slices. The thickness of a Mills&Boon, about 1.5-2cm. Drizzle with olive oil and pour a little of the ras el hanout on each side of each slice. Rub with your fingers to really get the spices into the nooks of the tofu. You want a nice, even coverage on the outside of each slice.
2 Leave to marinate for as long as you’ve got til dinner.
4Heat a little oil in a griddle or frying pan and fry off the steaks. They’ll need about 4 minutes on each side to get a nice consistency on the outside – chewy but yielding.
Serve with roast or steamed veg and a grain for dinner, or cook smaller pieces for party nibbles.
This meal looks delicious!! I love the way you prepared the tofu.
Bibi and Janey says
Thank you. We’re on a mission to make the whole world love tofu – or at the very least to overcome irrational prejudice and at least try it!
Bibi and Janey says
We note that there is more than one ‘at least’ in the above reply. Clearly we feel strongly about this 😉
Great blog! I’m definitely going to make this. Was wondering if you’d tried using defrosted tofu? The consistency changes into something more spongy and this makes it soak up the marinade in a much shorter time. It does change the texture though, so might not be to everyone’s liking…
Bibi and Janey says
Thanks for this. The more textures the better, we say! We found this post about freezing tofu to avoid too much change in consistency – http://vegetarian.lovetoknow.com/How_to_Freeze_Tofu We’re not really too fussed though. Soaking up marinade more quickly seems like a useful byproduct of freezing to us…
Thanks! I have had this ras el hanout I bought in a wonderful spice shop in north Carolina and she said its great for lamb, but I said we don’t eat meat! Oh well I’ll figure out a use! Then here we are a year later and I thought tofu but was afraid to use it and end up horrible! But this recipe I can do its easy and boy will m be surprised when I make this! We usually only use braggs or tamari w our tofu. This variation will add a little spice! Thanks!
Brill – v happy to help you find a use for it! If you’re looking for new things to do with tofu, check out our Sesame Baked Tofu recipe too – it’s yum.