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The veggie cook

A tasty twist on chilaquiles

It's Cinco de Mayo, time for festive food but this dish is good year-round

By Kay Stepkin, Special to Tribune Newspapers

April 27, 2011

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Cinco de Mayo comes but once a year. But, tofuquiles? This South of the Border-inspired favorite is good all year long. It's comfort food with a flair.

Chilaquiles, the dish on which this is based, usually contains tortillas and often eggs, chicken and cheese. It's nicknamed "a broken up sombrero" because of the dried pieces of tortilla.

Though this version has some similarity, it's different because it contains no animal protein. Our take on this one-dish meal includes soy sauce for flavor and tofu for protein.

Tips: Good-quality soy sauce can make a big difference in this and other dishes. Avoid using too much oil when you're sauteing by brushing the pan with oil.

Tofuquiles

Prep: 50 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 package (14-16 ounces) refrigerated extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas, cut in quarters
3/4 teaspoon paprika
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup jarred tomatillo salsa
1/3 cup each, tightly packed: cilantro, basil

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse the tofu in a colander. Place colander in the sink; place a heavy plate on the tofu to press out excess liquid, about 5 minutes.

2. For the marinade, whisk olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, garlic and turmeric together in a small bowl. Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch pieces, making your cuts from the largest side of the tofu block. Press each large slice with a paper or cloth towel to remove remaining moisture. Stack the pieces; cut horizontally and vertically into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the tofu in a baking dish. Add the marinade; stir to coat each piece. Keep in oven until needed, or up to 40 minutes.

3. Brush a large skillet with a teaspoon of the oil; add the onion. Cook over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.

4. Meanwhile, cut the tortillas into quarters; cut each quarter into 3 wedges. Brush the skillet with 1 tablespoon oil; cook the tortilla pieces, in batches, over medium-high heat until they begin to curl. Turn; cook until brown spots start to appear. Remove from skillet. Add remaining oil as needed.

5. Remove tofu from marinade, discarding marinade; cook in the skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with paprika; turn cubes over. Add the cooked onions.

6. Place tomatoes and the remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce in a small mixing bowl. Stir together. Add the tomato mixture to tofu mixture. Mix the salsa and the tortilla pieces together thoroughly; add to the tofu mixture. Add the cilantro and basil, stirring to distribute the herbs throughout.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 334 calories, 42% of calories from fat, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 38 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 385 mg sodium, 8 g fiber.

Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking class instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/bakery. Email her at foods@tribune.com.