18 June 2011

Chozo Chorizo

The Chozo are an ancient race of bird-people responsible for the technology and training that make Samus Aran space's most famous bounty hunter.  Chorizo is a spicy, pepper-based Spanish sausage with regional variations in Latin America.  Is this a version of chorizo made by Chozo, or out of Chozo (which I imagine would have a taste somewhere between pork and chicken)?  Neither: the names sound similar, that's all.  The names sound similar.  

Young vegetarian cooks are often told that tofu is a food which will absorb the flavors of anything it is cooked with, "like magic!"  This is a vicious lie, designed to drive novices away from the vegetarian lifestyle.  Tofu is damn near inert when unprocessed, and requires freezing, boiling, compressing, stretching on a rack, or rolling downhill in a nail-studded barrel before it will become porous to flavor.  This recipe takes advantage of the relative impermeability of tofu to create a pleasing variance of color in the sausages, similar to real ground chozo.  I mean chuck, ground chuck. 

 Dry Ingredients:
200 g wheat gluten flour
40g gram flour
2 tsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp chili flakes (I've also substituted 3 chopped habaƱeros; my mouth exploded)
1 Tbsp oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Moist Ingredients:
1/2 block tofu
4 Tbsp canola oil
1 egg
4 tsp Maggi seasoning
1 tsp marmite (or substitute more Maggi, or steak sauce)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1ish cups water to moisten

six sheets of aluminum foil

If you've foolishly popped your water-covered tofu straight into the freezer when you bought it, defrost it first in a few changes of boiling water.  Set the other half of the block aside.  Try and press as much water out as possible, using your tofu-pressing method of choice.  

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisk together.

Do the same with your wet ingredients, minus the oil, water, and tofu.

Technically not a prairie oyster, but just barely.

What...what have I done...?

In a separate separate bowl, mash the tofu into coarse chunks using a fork or a pastry blender, or your hands if you prefer.  Add the oil and mix well (not with your hands this time).  The defrosted tofu has many pockets, which will take up the oil and act like the globs of solid fat in a traditional meat chorizo. 

At this point, start bringing some water to a rolling boil in the bottom part of your steamer (i.e., a saucepan).

Mix first the bowl of wet tomatoey ingredients, then the tofu, into the dry ingredients with a fork.

Just before adding the tofu.

Start adding the water a few tablespoons at a time as you stir.  I used about a half cup of water, but you may want more.  You're looking for the point just where everything is moist and the gluten holds together, but before you get a lot of red liquid in the bottom of your bowl and you start having flashbacks.

This is about the level of mixedness you're looking for.
When you feel you've reached that point, moosh everything together real good, then divide it into six pieces with a butter knife or a stiff spatula.  It is wise to minimize the contact between the chorizo and your bare hands, as it contains raw egg and a lot of staining red stuff.

Place each piece onto a slice of foil and roll it up tightly, like a little fake meat tootsie roll.

Put the foil-wrapped sausages in your steamer basket.  If you've got to stack them to fit (as I did), you may need to rotate them halfway through cooking.  Fit the steamer basket  to your saucepan and turn the heat down on the boiler.  Steam 35 minutes.

Let the sausages cool for five or ten, then unwrap. 

Serve in the manner traditional to your homeworld.  I've had them on rice, baked with potatoes or mushrooms, wrapped in tortillas with sour cream, and fried and sliced over pasta.  These links are Spanish-style; I've also experimented (cough) with a version using the entire block of tofu, which worked fine and made the thing a lot crumblier and closer to mexican-style chorizo when prepared with a bit of oil.  It's a flexible recipe, is what I'm saying.

Eat some chorizo.

Watch out for Torizo.

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