They strike one like the first rays of sunshine following a gloomy spell – the smells of a fired up grill, of coal burning bitter blue, of the sizzling juices of the season’s first harvests, and of ribs and steaks starting to sear up. Who needs a three-course homely meal when the prospect of an all-American cook-out presents itself to one thus? A hasty forage in the fridge reveals quite a few possibilities in the vegetable crisper and that box of tofu that has long begged for a wallop of spice sure seems like an interesting change, for protein. Staples like green chutney and ginger-garlic paste give a head start to a smooth marinade and the tofu is left to soak up the flare and flavors. As the neighborhood line trimmers recede to a chirring halt, exuding a refreshing grassy odor, and the sun takes centerstage, the family’s daily hasher is quite content to unwind on a hammock with an iced tea, having passed on her chef’s hat to the king of the grill. Soon, the skewers will sizzle gaily in their line-up, and browned crosshatches will attest that it’s time to eat. And while a bowl of vinegary baked beans facilely replaces the standard bowl of chole, and a broccoli slaw stands stoically in for the raita, the zestfulness of the Harabhara Tofu Tikka steps up as a pleasant reminder of the scrumptious clay-oven roasted grub picked up long ago at a dinner wagon along the highway..
Hara-bhara Tofu Tikka
1 Block firm of extra-firm tofu (12 oz.)
Vegetables for the skewers – your choice of red onions, bell peppers, snow peas, jalapenos and squash cut into large pieces
Oil for brushing on the grill
For the marinade –
- 2 Tablespoons prepared thick green chutney, or coriander and mint leaves ground to a paste
- 2 Tablespoons thick yoghurt
- 1 Teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1 Tablespoon crushed fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi)
- ½ Teaspoon chaat masala
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- ½ Teaspoon red chilly powder
- ¼ Teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ Teaspoon paprika or Kashmiri mirch
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- A pinch of turmeric
Place the tofu on a bed of folded paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and press down with a flat plate. Place a heavy weight on top, and let the tofu drain for 30 minutes to an hour, squeezing out the towels several times to remove the liquid. Alongside soak a few bamboo skewers in water to avoid them burning up on the grill.
Cut the drained tofu into ½ inch thick pieces. Stir together all the ingredients for the marinade and pour three-fourths of it over the tofu. Marinate at room temperature for about an hour, or longer if possible. Brush the vegetables with the remaining marinade and thread them alternating with the tofu. Brush the grill and skewers lightly with oil to avoid any sticking and cook, turning once, until grill marks appear on the tofu. Sprinkle with chaat masala and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy as an appetizer or grill corn alongside and toss up a salad for a light summer meal.
- The tofu can be drained and marinated ahead of time, up to overnight. In which case, you would need to refrigerate and bring it to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
The Hara-bhara Tofu Tikka is being shared with the gang over at –