After rejecting all the barbecued meat recipes, I went with some Cape Malay recipes, starting with this Tofu Bobotie. The recipe is from a cookbook called Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. My friend Alana lent me this book, and it is full of nothing but regional and ethnic recipes. It's really amazing! I'm definitely going to put it on my list, because there is a lot more to explore in there. The Bobotie is kind of like a meat casserole... but this version uses frozen-then-defrosted tofu, along with chopped almonds. It was really, really delicious! On top, you were supposed to mix eggs and milk to make a custard. So, instead I made up a batch of the omelette stuff from Vegan Brunch, and used about 3/4 cup to spread on top. This resulted in me having to bake the whole thing about 15 minutes longer and about 50 degrees hotter than the original recipe suggested, but that worked out just great.
The filling was abundant with curry spices, mostly those on the sweeter side (cinnamon, fennel, coriander)... nothing too peppery. Plus, chutney, bread crumbs, raisins... it was a great sweet-savory curry combo. The end result was so delicious. It actually wasn't a particularly demanding thing to assemble, and the flavors were really robust and special. I think this would be a great dish for Thanksgiving or another holiday. I only made a half batch, and still I think it was at least 4 servings, so this recipe definitely makes a lot.
In addition to the Bobotie, I also made some recipes from a library book called The Africa Cookbook, a book I plan on renewing so I can continue to explore it. I made Curried Vegetables and the Yellow Rice. The veggies were in a very mild curry... a bit too mild to be too terribly interesting on their own. However, with the suggested condiments added on, their mildness became an asset, as they were a lovely vehicle for some chutney (I used a chili-plum sauce made by one of my lovely yoga students!) and some spicy tomato-onion mixture (see below). I also made a quick and easy pilaf with turmeric and raisins. Can you see how nice and fluffy the rice turned out? The method for cooking the rice was different from anything I'd done before. First you boiled it in too much water for 20 minutes (along with the seasonings), then drained it, and steamed it for another 10 minutes. Very cool! It was easy, and it definitely got a different result. It reminded me a bit of the texture of persian rice, which is also rinsed and de-starched and then steamed.
Finally, I made this stuff... it's the spicy tomato onion mixture I mentioned. It's a condiment called Smoor (fun name!), also from The Africa Cookbook. It was a great element along with the casserole and the rice & veggies. It's fun, when I have the time, to make a whole range of dishes and experience a well-rounded meal, rather than just one thing. This was a really lovely meal that I would be happy to repeat over again!