Contributor; Marlene Watson-Tara
The competition for the cooking show on T.V. was certainly ‘character’ building. Excited at cooking my dish from scratch whilst being filmed in the open air was fun. However, the next stage as I headed towards the judge for the tasting session wasn’t!! Presentation excellent, first taste, so delicious was the comment but…… WHERE ARE THE CHILLIES? I don’t use chillies I replied, INFACT I don’t even use pepper! The ingredients I used to marinate the tofu were turmeric, paprika, mirin, shoyu and ginger. Delicious! The dressing I used was sweet white miso, shoyu, balsamic vinegar and fresh squeezed ginger juice. This encapsulates all the taste buds on the tongue and creates a delicious balance for our taste buds and leaves us feeling completely satisfied’
As the cooking show was not about health I was ‘stumped’ and could not explain the adverse effect of chillies on the digestive system or even explain that when eating such hot spices creates an imbalance and that’s why so many people crave sugar as the body strives to create balance. The judge told me that my dish was about 3/4 of the way towards being complete!! but they could not offer me a winning rossette! because of the missing chillies!!!! Oh well, off I went to pack up my belongings and head for the long drive home to Scotland. As I was packing up all my cooking utensils one of the T.V. crew then approached me and said, excuse me Marlene, the judge asked if you would be kind enough to leave your dish for her lunch!! Incredible eh!
The next competitor up was a lady with a Carrot cake, yep!! you guessed right, she was awarded a winning rossette!!! I have to ask myself, does the world need more cake?
However, not one to be thwarted I will continue my quest to get a Natural Foods Cooking Show on T.V. but in the meantime, please enjoy my ‘winning recipe’ below. Bill, my family and my friends love it so that is good enough for me.
This is a great recipe for a quick lunchtime or dinner stir-fry. It uses broccoli and kale (or dark-leafed cabbage greens or spinach).
Total for 4 portions £6.39 x 1 portion £1.58 or £1.35 per portion if using regular mushrooms.
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, finely sliced half-moons
10 fresh shitake mushrooms, washed and finely sliced
½ block 250g of tofu cut into (small dice) (see footnote below)
1 head of broccoli cut into medium sized pieces
1 head curly kale, stem removed and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. tamari or shoyu (organic soya sauce)
2 tbsp. white miso paste dissolved in two tbsp water
1 tbsp freshly squeezed ginger juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. white sesame seeds
Whisk the soya sauce, miso paste, ginger juice and vinegar in a cup and set aside. Heat the toasted sesame oil in a wok over medium heat and add the garlic, onion and the mushrooms stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Add the diced tofu and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the kale stir and cover for 8-10 (depending on the type of kale) or until it turns bright green; adding a little water if necessary. Add the broccoli and cover the wok for 4 or 5 minutes, if the pan seems dry add a splash more water. Remove from the heat. Stir in the dressing and let sit for a few minutes with the lid on to allow the food to absorb the dressing. Serve piled high in bowls and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
What makes my recipe original?
I use organic produce as much as possible. My recipes are all based on eating local seasonal produce and are vegetarian/vegan, meat, dairy and sugar free.
I combine the 5 tastes – sweet, sour, salt, bitter and pungent to satisfy the taste buds. This keeps the body in balance so we don’t swing from craving sugar to salt which avoids nutritional stress. Practically speaking, the more you consciously include a variety of the five tastes in food preparation, the more satisfying and nutritionally enhanced your meals will be.
Tofu is very bland but takes on the tastes of other foods. Add a delicious sauce or seasoning to your tofu. You can marinate your tofu as I did with 1 tbsp shoyu, 1 tbsp mirin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp paprika 1/2 tbsp ginger juice. As long as you start by pressing your tofu for at least 30 minutes to remove the water it will readily absorb any flavor you add.
I like to ‘dry fry’ the tofu also but it’s not necessary. However if you do it really helps the tofu absorb the marinade completely. To ‘dry fry’ the tofu, simply cut into slices after pressing then add to a dry non-stick pan. Using a spatula press the slices and you will hear a ‘sizzling’ noise – fry for about 5 minutes each side until browning and then cut into cubes.
There are over 200 delicious recipes in my book ‘Macrobiotics for all Seasons’ available on my website www.marlenewatsontara.com
In good health