Coconut Pineapple Seared Tofu

by Em on May 9, 2012



Two things you need to know about me:

1)I have a problem when it comes to Medjool dates and therefore the keyboard of my computer is always covered in sticky date paste. Gross!

2) I am probably the only person in the world who is actively involved in trying to reduce their soy consumption. Yep – reduce! Every since soy stopped being the darling of the health world – since people decided it probably disrupted hormones, rather than helping them – I’ve been lamenting the loss of my daily soy latte. Don’t get me wrong – I love whole milk too! But seriously, I almost love soy milk more. It’s a bit like my frozen yogurt obsession. Tacky.

Anyhow, although I don’t actually think soy is the devil that so many people do – and if you don’t react well to milk, it’s definitely better to have some soy than to carry on drinking milk regardless – I’ve been trying to cut down. A bi-monthly soy latte (my exciting life) and the occasional Cliff Bar stolen off my husband. Luckily though, there are some soy products that most people believe are better for you than generic soy milk or soy chips … namely tempeh (which is fermented tofu) and sprouted tofu (self explanatory!). I loooove tofu nearly as much as I love soy milk so it’s good to know I still have some less contraversial options left.

This dish is an adaptation of one we learned at Bauman College, and is possibly my new favourite way to have soy based amazingness. Louis and I both loved it.. it’s sort of like a vegan korma, only the tofu absorbs far more flavour than the chicken does, and also has more bite. We still haven’t totally determined how much flavour the braising actually imparts – and we both agree you could probably get away with just marinating the tofu, instead of braising as such. Having said that, if you’re by the stove anyhow, you might as well braise right?!

In other news this dish is best served with brown rice or green veggies, extra lemon and TONNES of chopped cilantro (and hot sauce). As for the topping, toasted coconut flakes were recommended … but we did cashews the second time and preferred it! Enjoy!

* If you recognise the photos from Saturday, yep – they ARE the photos I had previously deemed non-blog worthy. In fact, I still do! But all my best intentions (and anticipation) to cook this dish again were laid to rest by the insanely hot temperatures over the past few days. So, instead of cooking curry, Louis and I went swimming in the lake and came home to eat quesadillas. No regrets!



Coconut Pineapple Seared Tofu

Serves 4



16oz sprouted tofu or tempeh.

2 cups pineapple juice (or can use a mix of pineapple juice and water)

1/4 cup Tamari

2 inch piece of ginger, sliced thinly

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon sweet parika


1 tablespoon butter or ghee

1 red onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 3/4 cups of coconut milk (one regular sized tin)

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon salt


1 tablespoon ghee or butter

1 teaspoon fresh lemon

1/2 cup toasted cashews

1/4 cup fresh cilantro



Cut your tofu or tempeh into inch thick triangular pieces. For the sprouted tofu I bought (which came in two slabs, equalling 16 oz in total) this meant cutting each slab into 4 triangles and then cutting those triangles cross ways, so that there were 16 triangles in total. *This is ideal area for the braising.. but it doesn’t actually matter that much. You can basically cut the tofu to the shape you most want to eat/ present it in.

Place the tofu in a pan with the pineapple juice and all the herbs and spices. Bring to a light boil and then reduce to a low simmer so that the tofu braises in the liquid. Whilst the tofu is braising you can make the sauce.

For the sauce, begin my sauteeing the onion in small saucepan (with the butter) until golden. This should take 5 Р7 minutes. Add the garlic and fry lightly for about 1 minute. Add the spices and salt and fry quickly and then add the coconut milk. Bring to a light boil and then turn the heat right down, so you can simmer whilst searing the tofu.

(By now the tofu should have been braising for about ten minutes. If it hasn’t pour yourself some wine and take a little breather. The longer it braises for the better, but any time over ten minutes is good).

Once the tofu is done braising, drain it from the liquid (the liquid can be discarded, or kept if you think you might like to make the dish again in the next few days). Put the tofu on a plate whilst you heat the final tablespoon of ghee or butter over a medium high heat, in a medium saucepan.

Sear the tofu until lightly browned on each side (about a minute or two each side). Once browned turn down the heat and allow the pan to cool a little. Then pour the coconut sauce over the tofu, deglazing the bottom of the pan with the sauce. Bring to a light boil and then turn down, just enough to allow the sauce to thicken slightly. The total time from adding the sauce to the pan and it being ready should be about ten minutes.

Once the sauce is thickened and the tofu cooked through the dish should be served immediately. Squeeze in the lemon and give a final stir. Serve over rice or steamed greens (we used kale). Divide the tofu pieces, spoon over the sauce, garnish with cilantro and toasted cashews. So good!


Nutritional Info: Calories 391, Fat 30g, Protein 13g, Carbohydrate 12g (of which 3g sugar)

Nutritional Highlights: 44% Calcium RDA, 56% Iron RDA



{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly May 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Em, this looks FANTASTIC! I am just now exploring the world of tofu now that I’m back on the soy (albeit only very occasionally) and am baffled by how to make tofu tasty. This recipe is super helpful and inspiring. Thanks for it!


katie @KatieDid May 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

before reading the last part I was going to comment that I loved the photos so much! such good lighting, definetely blog worthy in my opinion. And lake swimming followed my quesadillas just sounds so perfect ahhh.


Del Rashid May 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Hi Emilia,

The recipes are interesting, but i am one of those guys who has very primitive kitchen skills… have you ever considered a Video blog for one of your recipes…you never know you could be the next Nigella Lawson….:)

Best Wishes


Kathryn May 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I don’t know what you’re talking about re the photos, they’re gorgeous! Lovely combination of flavours too. I think it’s easy to get caught up in what you are/aren’t supposed to be eating at any point in time; sometimes you just have to eat what tastes good like this!


Redd H May 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm

This looks gorgeous and delicious! I think these photos are awesome!


Amy May 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I am totally trying this when I get home for my summer vacations, it looks so good, Em! I love asian flavors with tempeh, and maybe even more than that I love when sweet & savory are together (but you know that, haha). I really enjoy eating tempeh and although I am not the biggest fan of soy either, I can’t resist a chai tea latte made with soy milk–it just tastes better!

PS are you crazy? I love those photos! And swimming in a lake + eating quesadillas is always the best choice, no matter what. :)


Em May 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Aww – thanks Amy! And you totally definitely should – its such a new favourite – and OMG Chai Tea Lattes – they used to be my FAVOURITE. Im certain we have very similar taste in food… so I know you’ll love this dish!!


Katie May 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Em, this sounds amazing (and those photos are great!). It took me awhile to come around to tempeh, but I definitely like it better than ordinary tofu now. Does it matter whether you use full-fat or reduced-fat coconut milk in this recipe? I’m always alarmed by just how much fat coconut milk has in it.


Em May 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Katie! Im so sorry it took me so long to respond to this. I very much doubt it matters that much in this recipe – I used to use reduced fat and found I could barely tell the difference. BUT Coconut fat is actually very good for you – some people even think the fat helps you to LOSE weight (seriously – google it) although personally I think thats taking it a bit far. However, despite the high calorie count the body does really seem able to metabolsie it super well… Ive been on holiday to Thailand twice, ate coconut curries at least once (if not TWICE) per day and LOST weight both times. The full fat stuff is a less refined product anyhow, which always gets my vote.. :)


Sally Anne May 10, 2012 at 12:41 am

Confession: I have NEVER tried to cook tofu–it scares the daylights out of me! However, this looks SO delicious–anything with coconut has my vote.

I am with you on the soy reduction train. My hormones were acting wonky so soy was the first thing to go (and I feel MUCH better–but golly I miss edamame!)


Amanda May 10, 2012 at 2:54 am

Looks delicious Em! And I think the photos are just fine! I’m glad you’re taking this course so that the rest of us can benefit by these great recipes! ;)


Jackie (marin mama) May 10, 2012 at 4:10 am

Oh Em! This dish looks amazing and your photos are foodgwaker quality, seriously.
How would this be topped on wheat berries? I love how you and Louis are cooking buddies, so cute.

I can’t wait to try this as well as the dulse salad and those cookies. Gosh, I have some cooking to do, don’t I?


Lou May 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

YUM. YUM Em :) I will sub in coconut oil for the ghee and this dish will be MINE. Love your work x


Jennie (the gf-gf) May 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Back when I was a veg-head, I used to LOVE the tofu at this one Thai restaurant and it was always cut in triangles. It all makes sense, now!
I’ve been trying to cut back on soy lattes, too, but I’ve found that I don’t like the taste of cow’s milk anymore, and haven’t found a decent alternative. And giving up lattes is obviously out of the question!


Kati @ AtP May 16, 2012 at 1:09 am

I’ve seriously been craving all things pineapple lately! This looks oh so good! Can’t wait to give it a try.


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