Coconut-Tofu Tacos w/ Coconut Mango Slaw
You know how everyone gets on board with New Year’s Resolutions? Plans to eat healthier, lose some weight, travel more, fall in love with yourself. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t bad, but the problem is that .000001% of us actually follow-through. That slice of pizza didn’t count, right? Thinking that I’m not good enough—well, everyone does that, come on.
Don’t get down on yourself if you made some and already broke some. It’s life. (And maybe you could jump on my bandwagon and not make any at all!)
I thought about posting this recipe & give-away on January 1—to ring in the New Year & all that jazz—but decided to wait a little longer. I’m calling this a “life is pretty good, let’s eat healty, delicious stuff” Second Month Resolution. Sounds fun, right? (And waaay less serious.) So let’s get into the healthy & delicious part.
Eons ago, (read: last summer) I was approached by Tropical Traditions to sample their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Mail. Since I’m a huge fan of coconut oil given its various benefits but rarely buy it due to its expense here in Roanoke, I jumped at the opportunity. And now, with the holidays wrapping up and snow falling a bit too regularly for my taste, what better time to lighten up a meal and celebrate the warmer season than now?
Researching the company a bit more, I found that Tropical Traditions is unique in its approach to coconut oil. Their Gold Label oil is 100% unrefined, meaning that their coconuts are not processed using lye or other harsh solvents, and incredibly fresh—the coconuts are traditionally processed (by family famers) within 48 hours of harvest. Grown on farms in the Quezon Province of the Philippines, the coconut meat is then harvested and shredded and cold-pressed to make coconut milk. The milk then sits for a half a day allowing for the oil to naturally separate from the heavier water. Finally, the oil is filtered from the coconut solids. Pretty simple, right? Not only that, the Gold Label is also USDA certified organic and the producers are GMP certified thus ensuring a solidly standard product.
All of these standards do come at a price, of course—a 16 oz jar will run you $20-25—but after using the coconut oil for a few months, I’ve come to love it. The smell alone is intoxicating and transports you to a beach side grove on a tropical island, and the quality of the oil from frying to baking, is par none. It even makes a stellar hand moisturizer!
To showcase the best elements of the Gold Label oil—the aroma, the taste, and how good it is to fry with—I decided to whip up a meal of Coconut Tofu Tacos with a Coconut-Mango Slaw. The coconut tofu is inspired by memories of my family’s vacation to east coast beaches and the inevitable special seafood meal out. In my ten-, thirteen-, sixteen-year-old eyes, there was nothing better than a plate of fried shrimp—especially coconut fried shrimp. Even though I hated sweets with shredded coconut, I loved the coconut shrimp because it was so different—mildly nutty, sweet, and extremely crunchy. Nothing like a coconut cake. Instead of using shrimp, however, I marinated tofu in coconut milk and nori flakes to give the tofu a bit of sea-influenced flavor, then breaded with panko and coconut flakes and fried in coconut oil for the ultimate fried coconut treat.
The Coconut-Mango Slaw, on the other hand, is a perfect example of how my tastes have changed over the years. Back in my coconut shrimp days, I claimed to hate mango. Even though I’d never eaten it. I know…pretty close minded. Now, though, I’m a huge fan of the cancer-kicking, vitamin rich, and cholesterol-lowering fruit, and it pairs perfectly with shredded cabbage and coconut, making it the best accompaniment for Coconut Tofu Tacos.
And good news! Tropical Traditions would love to let one lucky reader sample a 16 oz jar of their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil! To enter, you simply need to sign up for the Tropical Traditions newsletter and then leave a comment on this post saying what you’d like to do first with your coconut oil.
The contest is open until Midnight, February 8, and I’ll announce the winner that weekend. Be sure to leave a contact email address so I can contact you if you win!
Coconut Tofu Tacos with Coconut-Mango Slaw
For the Coconut Tofu:
1 lb extra firm tofu
1 1/5 c panko bread crumbs
1 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1 c coconut milk
3 tbsp nori flakes
1 tsp salt
Coconut oil, for frying
8 Corn or flour tortillas
For the Coconut-Mango Slaw
Adapted from Whole Foods (http://wholefoodsmarketcooking.com/recipes/11968_oven_roasted_salmon_with_coconut_mango_slaw):
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp agave nectar
½ jalapeno pepper, minced
Pinch salt & fresh black pepper
1 ripe mango, julienned
½ c unsweetened coconut flakes
2 c shredded purple cabbage
¼ fresh parsley, chopped
Drain the tofu and squeeze out any excess water. Cut into ½ inch dice or ball with a melon baller (I did the latter which was more work than necessary—but it looked pretty!).
In a bowl or baking dish, combine the coconut milk, nori flakes, and salt. Add the tofu, toss to coat thoroughly, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, prepare the slaw. Whisk together the lime juice, coconut oil, soy sauce, agave nectar, jalapeno pepper, salt, and pepper to create a vinaigrette.
In a mixing bowl, combine the mango, coconut flakes, cabbage, and parsley. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the mixture and toss to combine. Cover and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.
After the tofu has marinated for at least 30 minutes, take it out of the fridge. Prepare the breading by tossing together in a bowl the panko bread crumbs and coconut flakes.
Make an assembly line with the tofu in marinade at one end, the bread crumb mixture in the middle, and a parchment lined baking try at the other end.
With your non-dominant hand (left hand for me), take each tofu piece/ball and shake any excess marinade from it. You don’t want it to be super gloopy. Place in the panko mixture and cover with your other hand (you always want this hand to be dry), rolling around in the panko, until the tofu is completely coated. Place on the baking tray. Repeat until all the tofu has been breaded.
In a Dutch oven or fryer, warm the coconut oil to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In small batches, fry the tofu until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes total.
Transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil.
To assemble the tacos, warm the tortillas and then place a layer of slaw and then a few coconut tofu pieces on top. Serve with fresh guacamole (http://eatingappalachia.com/2012/12/12/roasted-pumpkin-poblano-corn-soup-with-baked-corn-potato-latkes/) and chips.
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconutoil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconutoil they offer. You can read more about how virgincoconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses ofcoconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.