This meal was inspired by an 8-year-old vegan. My daughter's friend, Caycie, is the sweetest little girl, with a face like a porcelain doll, and has been a vegan for as long as she remembers. There's only one problem: She doesn't like most vegetables! Also, she doesn't like her food to touch other food. When I sat next to her on a field trip to Chinatown, I watched her carefully put rice on her plate, with a few peas several inches away and a carrot slice or two also set apart. I thought, what does she eat? The answer came many months later, when my daughter came home asking for coconut tofu with coconut rice. Caycie had given her a few bites of her lunch, and she wanted me to make it for dinner. I asked her how it tasted: Was the tofu stewed in a coconut milk curry? No. Unsure of the recipe, my daughter said, "Let's look it up on Google images." (Kids these days!) We did, and chose the recipe which most resembled Caycie's lunch. I've paired it with brown rice steamed with coconut milk and aromatic spices. This is a delicious and satisfying vegan meal, served with a salad on the side. One day, I'll get Caycie to eat the salad, too.
The tofu recipe is adapted from Living Beyond the Box's Oven-Baked Coconut Tofu Bites: http://livingbeyondthebox.com/2012/06/04/oven-baked-coconut-tofu-grilled-cilantro-lime-cabbage-quinoa/
—Beautiful, Memorable Food
Test Kitchen Notes
I’m always a little hesitant to try new tofu recipes, since tofu is one of those ingredients that can easily become bland, but this baked tofu turned out beautifully. I added some oil to the baking sheet and flipped the tofu cubes halfway through baking for even browning. The coconut flakes added a great texture and flavor to the tofu, and the marinade was sweet and salty, so I poured it over the tofu before eating. My favorite part of this dish was probably the rice, which was slightly sweet and fragrant from the spices. I will definitely be making this again! —Stephanie
Add all ingredients to the pot of a rice cooker and stir. Cook according to your rice cooker's instructions. You can also make this on the stove by bringing it all to a boil then simmering, covered, until all of the liquid is absorbed.
Remove spices before serving.
For the baked coconut tofu:
Drain the tofu, dry with paper towels and cut into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
Place all the remaining ingredients except coconut into a large zipper bag and mix until combined. Add in the tofu cubes, seal bag, and gently shake until all pieces are evenly coated. Marinate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place the shredded coconut on a large plate. Remove the tofu from the marinade (reserve the marinade to use as a salad dressing), and dredge each piece through the coconut before placing it onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle any remaining coconut on top of the tofu cubes.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Serve with the coconut rice and a salad (I recommend shredded kale or sliced cucumber, dressed with the reserved marinade).