Michael Natkin's Aromatic Tofu Packets


[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

I've got a penchant for all things tropical, so banana leaves are one of those ingredients that I always have on had. Sure, you can do any en papillote preparation with parchment paper, but banana leaves make for an exotic presentation, plus they add a green, grassy aroma to everything that they surround.

These Aromatic Tofu Packets from Michael Natkin's Herbivoracious are a prime example of why banana leaves have a permanent place in my freezer. Natkin combines a Asian veggies with soy sauced blocks of tofu and wraps them in banana leaves to steam and let all of the flavors meld. Easier than you might imagine, and tastier then the sum of its parts, these tofu packets are the kind of meal that impresses, yes, even those who don't love tofu.

What Worked: Soft tofu steamed in banana leaves with all sorts of Asian accented aromatics makes for not only a dramatic presentation but also a fresh take on tofu.

What Didn't: With fresh and dried chiles, these packets are hot. Consider yourself warned.

Suggested Tweaks: If you're not feeling the veg thing, we're thinking that this recipe would be pretty spot-on with boneless chicken thighs or fish filets in place of the tofu.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Herbavoracious to give away.