Inspiration from a Lifelong Vegetarian
– Writing and Photos

indomapChristy Morgan, also known as The Blissful Chef and versed in macrobiotic cuisine, is in Thailand working on a Southeast Asian vegan cookbook. To keep up with her journey, subscribe to The Blissful Chef blog and become a fan on Facebook.  Let’s also travel vicariously through Morgan. Check out this post reprinted from her blog, which includes a sweet Indonesian recipe!

Recipe development is underway here in Thailand. The last couple of days I’ve been experimenting with Indonesian cooking. Since I haven’t been there yet I had to do a lot of research, reading Wikipedia to find out what the cuisine is like, what spices, vegetables, etc are commonly used. I looked through recipes online and found that Semur is a common technique served at home for your family. Semur means a rich stew or gravy made with sweet soy sauce, which is usually cooked for hours. But who has time for that! This rich stew is usually made with chicken, veal tongue or beef (Gross!). I made a healthier, simple quick version with tofu with a touch of coconut milk for added richness.

Even after a few days of testing I’ve realized that SEA food is pretty rich and uses a lot of oil (hope I don’t gain a ton of weight!). If you want to cut down the oil in this recipe then do not fry the tofu first. Make sure you get extra firm tofu that isn’t soaking in water. Trader Joe’s or the brand Wildwood are best for stir-fry and stews. If you make the stew without oil be sure to saute the onion, garlic and ginger with 1/4 cup water and add the tofu in after that.

Tofu in Sweet Soy Gravy (Semur Tahu)
Makes 3 servings

2 tablespoons oil
1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 cup onion, half moon
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup tomato, sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (or any granulated sugar)

Heat oil in wok over medium flame and brown tofu pieces; set aside. In same wok sauté onion, garlic and ginger until brown. Add water as needed to deglaze the pan if it sticks. Add in nutmeg, pepper and tomatoes with 1/3 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the tofu and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove lid and simmer until the liquid is reduced and thickens, stirring occasionally. Serve with rice.