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Brooks Tropicals
Side Dish

INDONESIAN LABU SIAM TUMIS (CHAYOTES IN COCONUT MILK)

Chayotes in Coconut Milk

Although you love coconut milk, it's too rich to enjoy by itself. It's why there are Pina Coladas, and that's why you'll love labu Siam tumis, which translates into "chayotes in coconut milk." Chayotes absorb the rich coconut taste and seasonings for a luscious-tasting side dish. There are some ingredients that are tough to find, but the substitutes will work and still delight.*

INGREDIENTS:

1 16 oz can coconut milk
1 tofu block, chopped into half-inch cubes

SPICE PASTE

6 shallots, trimmed and chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Thai or bird's-eye chilies
1/8 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (or candlenuts,
if you can find them)
3 tbs cooking oil
1 bay leaf
1 tbs ginger, minced (or galangal, if you can find it)
2 chayotes
2 tsp sugar (palm sugar, if you can find it)
salt and pepper to taste

Yield: 6 servings.
Prep time: 30 minutes plus an additional 30 minutes of cooking/baking

How to prepare ginger   How to cut a chayote

DIRECTIONS:

1. Put tofu cubes in a large bowl and cover with coconut milk. Put aside.
2. Using protective gloves, peel the chayotes with a vegetable peeler. Discard the skin and seed (if desired**).
3. Slice into matchsticks. Put aside.
4. Place the shallots, garlic, cayenne pepper, chilies and macadamia nuts in a food processor or blender. Blend until somewhat smooth.
5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, bay leaf, ginger and spice paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Add the sugar and combine, then add the chayote matchsticks. Toss to coat.
7. With a slotted spoon holding back the tofu, add most of the coconut milk to the skillet and stir to combine.
8. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. The chayotes will still be slightly crunchy.
9. Add the tofu and return to a boil.
10. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
11. Serve immediately on top of rice.


*Asian recipes will often allow recipes to be more "watery" in order to flavor the rice that they are topping.
**Try the chayote seed before discarding. You may like its nutlike taste.


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