Monday, August 14, 2017

Pineapple Tofu "Al Pastor"

Based on a Guero's pork al pastor recipe published in "Nuevo Tex-Mex"

Pork al pastor is a richly flavored pork stew. I am sure mexican shepherds didn't have much pineapple, but in my experience in Texas, it is always served with pineapple.

In this recipe, I mixed the pineapple in, and added miso and smoked paprika to move the recipe into a meaty direction.

Warning, steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 are time consuming. I offer workarounds for steps 1 and 2, and you can cut corners on 3, but step 4 is, well, the whole idea really. But actually, if you do it right, you can work on all four of these steps at the same time. I found myself very busy for about an hour with this recipe, but the first time you do it, it may take longer!


1 lb extra firm tofu diced in 1/2" cubes or similar
1/2 pineapple
1 medium to large onion
1 large bell pepper or 2 small
optional: 1 zucchini, halved the long way & sliced thin


3 dried guajillo chiles or 2 extra tbsp ancho chile powder

2 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp ancho chile powder
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp cider vinegar or rice vinegar
2 tbsp miso (I used barley miso)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano (pref Mexican oregano)
1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon Mock chicken, or a vegan mock chicken bouillon cube
6 cloves garlic
2 tbsp achiote paste (available at Mexican groceries)

1 tsp soy sauce or vegan worcestershire or similar


1) Prepare the dried chiles if using:
    pan roast on high heat for about 1 minute per side until color changes, but not burned
    soak in hot water at least 20 minutes

2) Roast the fresh peppers (if roasting, else see 3 below):
    broil on high for 8 minutes, top up if you can balance them
    rotate, repeat for 8 minutes 2 or 3 more times until skin blisters everywhere
    place in large bowl, cover, let cool

3) sautee onions
   heat 1 tsp oil on medium high
   chop onions fairly fine
   drop an onion bit in oil when it is hot, should sizzle but not splatter
   add onions
   add 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
   stir until red color is evenly distribute
   turn heat to medium low, occasionally
   add peppers chopped if not roasted
   peel and press the garlic and add to the onions
   if you roasted the peppers, when cool enough to handle, peel, seed & chop and add
   if using zucchini add thin sliced zucchini
   slow cook until vegs are soft and a bit sweet

4) grill pineapple
   Take a half pineapple, cut off the rind. Quarter through the core. Remove core.
   Pull out remaining bits of fiber with a potato peeler or a grapefruit spoon.
   If you have a grill, slice the pineapple into thin slices and grill a few minutes on a side.
   If you are pan-grilling, lightly oil a wok, chop pineapple fine
        stir-fry on high heat
  Cook until lightly browned in some spots.

5) make sauce
   in blender, add orange juice, vinegar, miso, achiote, bouillion, spices, and chile powder if using
       blend briefly

   if using dried chiles, rinse, tear open, discard seeds & step, & tear into a few pieces, add to blender
       then puree on high setting about 1 minute. run sauce through fine sieve to catch the dry bits

 6) remove pineapples from wok
   add 1/4 c water & heat pan to deglaze
   when water is boiled off & a little syrup remains, add 1 tsp canola oil
   add tofu, 1 tbsp ancho chile powder, soy sauce & cook on high heat until heated through.
   add all other ingredients & cook sauce down a bit until it thickens

Ideally serve on warmed corn tortillas with chopped red onion & fresh cilantro, but also nice on a toothy whole grain rice.