These don't have to be exclusive concepts. Eating should be something you enjoy and look forward to - eating breakfast gets your day going in the morning; lunch provides a break in the middle of the day; dinner allows quality time with family in the evening. Cooking can help you enjoy foods even more because it's the starting point for healthful eating.
THE ELECTRIC KITCHEN
A tofu and vegetable curry is packed with spices.
3 ‘secret’ items add healthful flavor
There's really no such thing as bad food - it's just how you use it to meet your needs. Chances are, if you're reading this column, you enjoy eating and you want to be healthy.
‘COOKING WITH A DASH OF ALOHA’ COOKING CLASS
» When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 26
» Place: Kapiolani Community College
» Cost: $50
» Call: 734-9211 or visit programs.kcc.hawaii.edu/~continuinged
To prepare foods that are both good and good for you, keep in mind three "secret" ingredients (all are easy to find):
» Herbs (fresh or dried), such as basil, thyme, parsley, etc.
» Spices, such as dried chili flakes, curry powder, fresh or dried ginger, etc.
» Something acidic, such as vinegar or fruit juices like lemon, lime or orange.
Any combination of these three ingredients, together with a little salt, provides a heightened sensation of "saltiness" without having to add a lot of salt. In other words, these natural flavor enhancers can be used to your heart's content! The possibilities are limitless as to how you can improve the taste of dishes with all the flavored vinegars, fresh fruits and fresh herbs that grow so well in our soil.
"A DASH of Aloha - Healthy Hawaii Cuisine and Lifestyle" (Watermark, $15.95) offers many suggestions, such as the flavor-packed recipe that follows. To learn more, come to a hands-on cooking class at Kapiolani Community College, to be taught by one of the book's chef/authors on July 26.
The tropical flavors of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves really stand out and complement the coconut milk in this curry. Multitasking is helpful with this dish; fresh tofu is seasoned and baked; and while the vegetables are steamed as the tofu is baking, the sauce can be blended together. The last step is just to combine and simmer a bit to marry the flavors.
Tofu Lemongrass Curry
1 (16-ounce size) block firm tofu (preferably Aloha Brand)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
1 cup Maui onion, peeled and cut in chunks
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
2 cups Molokai sweet potato, peeled and cut in chunks
1 cup Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut in chunks
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped cilantro, stems and leaves, reserve 2 tablespoons leaves
1 teaspoon minced garlic,
2 tablespoons minced ginger
3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed of outer stalks and minced
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 small Hawaiian chili, seeded and minced (optional)
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
2 carrots, cooked and cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Press and dry tofu, cut into slabs.
Cover a baking sheet or dish with canola oil and lay tofu on sheet; sprinkle with turmeric, curry powder and salt. Bake 30 minutes. Cool and cut into large squares.
Meanwhile, steam onion, carrot, sweet potato and potato chunks until just cooked. Cool a bit.
Combine sauce ingredients with 2 chunks cooked carrots in blender and blend until smooth.
Saute steamed vegetables in nonstick skillet, with the 1 tablespoon canola oil, about 5 minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
Add tofu and sauce and simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Adjust seasonings to taste. Just before serving, stir in reserved cilantro leaves. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 440 calories, 25 g total fat, 12 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 17 g protein
Hawaiian Electric Co. presents this weekly collection of recipes as a public service. Many are drawn from HECO's database of recipes, accessible online at www.heco.com