Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 23, 2021
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Mild curry of tofu and scallops (Tahu dan tiram berkuah)

The Javanese use the term tiram to refer to almost any shellfish with a hard shell. Here, it is used to mean “scallop.” Tofu and scallops go beautifully together, the different soft textures mingling as they do in this special curry sauce. There is certainly nothing traditionally Indonesian in this recipe, which evolved from other cuisines. It is lovely as an accompaniment to coconut rice.

16 oz. (about 1 lb./500g) Chinese-style tofu or firm long-life Japanese tofu, cut into small squares no larger than scallops (or scallop halves, as appropriate)

½ c. (125 ml) hot water or fish stock

½ c. (125 ml) coconut milk, light cream or Greek-style yogurt

16 oz. (1 lb./500 g) fresh scallops without their shells (leave whole if small, but cut in half if using large scallops)

To marinate the tofu

½ c. (125 ml) hot water

2 tsp. (10 ml) lemongrass (soft inner part only), finely chopped

2 kaffir lime leaves or lemon leaves, finely shredded

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) chili powder

½ tsp. (2.5ml) salt

For the bumbu (paste)

3 shallots or 1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves

2-inch (5-cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

3 large fresh chilies, seeded and chopped

1 tsp. (5 ml) terasi (shrimp paste) (optional)

2 candlenuts or macadamia nuts, chopped (optional)

1 tsp. (5 ml) ground coriander

1 tsp. (5 ml) paprika

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) ground turmeric

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt, or more to taste

1 tbsp. (15 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive or peanut oil

Combine the ingredients for marinating the tofu in a bowl. Add the pieces of tofu and marinate for 1 to 2 hours. Drain the tofu and set aside. Reserve the marinade.

Put all the ingredients for the paste in a blender or food processor. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold water and blend until smooth.

Heat a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add the paste and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring continuously, until fragrant — take care not to burn the paste. Add the reserved tofu marinade, including the solids. Add the ½ cup (125 ml) hot water or fish stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk, cream or yogurt. Simmer, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Check the seasoning, adding a little more salt or lime juice if needed. Up to this point, the sauce can be made 24 hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator until needed. It cannot be frozen.

When you’re ready to serve, bring the sauce to a rolling boil, stir and put in the reserved tofu. Continue to simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in the scallops and remove the pan from the heat. Leave the pan covered for 1 minute before transferring the contents to a serving bowl. Serve hot. Serves 3 to 4.

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