Cook with Us #24 - @docsmith Handcrafted Knife Contest Round Two - Chai Tea Infused Masala Tofu with Cornmeal Waffles, Tomato Raisins and Strawberry Chutney

in cookwithus •  12 days ago

Chai Tea Infused Chick'n Fried Tofu with Tomato Raisin Cornmeal Waffles 1.jpeg

Dear Hubby and I love taking weekend trips to the beach or mountains. Whether its a trip for just the two of us, for a couple's getaway, or includes our adult children and extended family, these trips always feature lots of fun and food. Though we love exploring and trying local restaurants this can sometimes be a challenge when you have a house divided: Vegans vs. Meateaters. But, we somehow manage to make it work. Even so, Dear Hubby and the kids always request that I personally make at least one big brunch meal at the vacation home. And, since I love cooking for my family, I am happy to oblige.

One of Dear Hubby's absolute favorite brunch meals is Vegan Chick'n and Waffles. Once I perused the Mystery Box for "Cook with Us #24 -@docsmith Handcrafted Knife Contest Round Two", I must admit that I was intrigued.

Chicken or Tofu
Tomatoes
Tea
Strawberries

Now, these all of these ingredients are often found on any Southern US table during the height of the summer growing season, my mind immediately thought of a variation of my famous Vegan Chick'n and Waffles.

For my Round Two entry, I decided to make a Chai Tea Infused Masala Tofu, Topped with Strawberry Chutney and served over Cornmeal Waffles Studded with Tomato Raisins.

The crunch of this Chai tea and spice infused tofu married beautifully with the cornmeal waffles which were studded with salty/sweet tomato raisins. I topped the tofu chick'n with a mix of baby spinach and spicy arugula. The tart and spicy **Strawberry Chutney **really brought it all together. Each and every bite was a delightful flavor explosion of India meets Southern US cooking.

Now, I must admit that making Chai Tea Infused Masala Tofu, Topped with Strawberry Chutney and served over Cornmeal Waffles Studded with Tomato Raisins takes a bit of time and advance planning. The Chai Tea and Spice infused tofu goes through not only a period of marinade in strong Chai tea but also a marinade in Masala spices. And, making tomato raisins is truly a labor of love....lots of work but totally worth it.

I hope you enjoy the following visual journey of the making of Chai Tea Infused Masala Tofu, Topped with Strawberry Chutney and served over Cornmeal Waffles Studded with Tomato Raisins. And, should you have an opportunity to make a decadent weekend breakfast or brunch, I've included the recipes for you to try. You'll find the recipes at the very end of this post.

I've always enjoyed a nice cup of Chai Tea! So, why not bring that flavor to my Southern Fried Tofu Chick'n!

Chai Tea for Tofu Infusion.JPG

Time for a little Tofu Butchery! I always try to get organic, non-GMO tofu for my recipes.

Tofu Butchery for Chai Tofu and Waffles.JPG

Infusing the tofu with all the flavor of freshly brewed Chai Tea.

Infusing Tofu with Chai Tea for chicken Fried Tofu.JPG

For Added Flavor: Infusing Tofu with Masa Spices and Herbs

Second Flavor Infusion for Chai Infused Chicken Fried Tofu.JPG

We've got All the Spices for The Flour and Panko Dredge for the Southern Fried Tofu Chick'n!

Flour Dredge Mix for Chai Tea Tofu.JPG

An organized assembly line is a must for Making Southern Fried Tofu Chick'n: Tofu. Dip. Dredge. Fry! ( And, if I'm feeling extra sassy, I dip and dredge twice before frying.)

Assembly Line for Frying Chai Infused Tofu.JPG

Making Tomato Raisins is truly a labor of love! Every little tomato must be cored and scored!

Scored Tomato for Waffles.JPG

Then a quick dip in boiling water.

Tomato in Boiling Water for Waffles.JPG

Then, shocked in an ice bath.

Tomatoes Being Shocked in Ice Bath for Waffles.JPG

And now, the fun part! Peeling. Every. Single. Little. Cherry. Tomato. By. Hand.

Peeled Tomato for  Waffles.JPG

Aren't these little naked tomatos beautiful?!?

Peeled Tomatoes for Waffles.JPG

The tomatoes are glazed and ready for a 4- 6 hour slow roast in the oven.

![Glazed Tomatoes for Waffles.JPG]
()

OMG!! These little Tomato Raisins are totally worth the time and effort!

Tomato Raisins for Cormeal Waffles.JPG

Beautiful, Sweet Organic Strawberries for the Chutney

Organic Strawberries for Chutney.JPG

Quartered Strawberries Mixed with Ginger and Sugar. Waiting to be cooked with Panch Phoron (Indian Five Spice), Chile Peppers and a splash of vinegar.

Strawberries, Ginger and Sugar for Chutney.JPG

Spicy, Tangy Strawberry Chutney!

Strawberry Chutney.JPG

I served the Chai Tea Infused Masala Tofu, Topped with Strawberry Chutney and served over Cornmeal Waffles Studded with Tomato Raisins with a blistering fresh mint chutney and sweet mangos. Oh, the joy!!

Chai Infused Chicken Fried Tofu with Cornmeal Waffles with Tomato Raisins.JPG

And, then there was none: My proof photo!

Proof Picture for Chai Tea Infused Tofu for Chicken Fried Tofu with Cornmeal Waffles.JPG

And now, the promised recipes.

Recipe #1: Cherry Tomato Raisins (Credit for this recipe goes to those talented folks over at Serious Eats! https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2018/08/print/tomato-raisins-oven-dried-whole-cherry-tomatoes.html#)

Ingredients:

  1. 3 pounds cherry tomatoes
  2. 1 Tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt (or any sea salt you have on hand)
  3. 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F, adjusting racks to the upper and lower middle of the oven.

  2. Wash tomatoes, and remove the core from the stem end of each tomato. Then score the skin on the opposite end.

  3. Prepare an ice bath.

  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. And, drop a few tomatoes at a time into the boiling water. Using a large kitchen spider, remove from water after about 30- 45 seconds and immediately plunge into the ice bath. (Remove the tomatoes from the hot water when the skins begin to separate from the flesh at the scored end.)

  5. Peel each tomato and line up on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. ( Use two baking sheets so as not to overcrowd tomatoes.) Be forewarned, whether you use your fingers or a paring knife, peeling these tomatoes can be a bear of a job. But, if you've properly scored your tomatoes before putting them in hot water, it makes it much easier.

  6. Once all tomatoes are peeled and lined up on the baking sheets, set aside. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and salt with 1 - 2 tsp of water. This mixture should resemble a wet sand.

Salt and Sugar for Tomatos for Waffles.JPG

Stir in the olive oil. Coat the waiting tomatoes with the mixture and then place them in the preheated oven.

  1. Slow roast the tomatoes until they are about one-fourth of their original size. Rotate the trays and add additional glaze about every hour or so. Depending on your oven and the size of your cherry tomatoes, this can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. My batch took about 4 hours to reach the desired size and consistency. I think I may try making my next batch in my dehydrator. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Recipe #2: Indian Strawberry Chutney (Credit for this recipe goes to bite.co.nz. http://www.bite.co.nz/recipe/13648/Indian-strawberry-chutney/ There are many great recipes available for Indian Strawberry Chutney. Find or create one that suits your tastebuds.)

Ingredients

  1. 1 quart fresh, organic strawberries (if not availables, frozen, sliced organic strawberries will do)
  2. 2 TB. freshly grated ginger
  3. 1 tsp. organic canola oil, avocado oil or grapeseed oil (you may use any neutral tasting oil)
  4. 2 tsp Paunh Phoron (This spice blend, also known as Indian Five Spice Mix, is a blend commonly used in Eastern India and Bangladesh and consists of the following seeds: Cumin, Brown Mustard, Fenugreek, Nigella and Fennel. Usually left whole, the spices are dry roasted or fried in oil to bring out their pungent flavors. You can make your own spice blend, if you've the time and inclinations, or you may do as I did and purchase the prepared blend at your local Indian or Asian market.)
  5. 2 small red chilles (You may either leave these whole or chopped...depending on how much heat you like. I was lucky enough to be able to pick my peppers from my patio garden. Freshness guaranteed!)
  6. 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  7. Medium Lemon, use both the grated zest and the juice

Method

  1. Wash, hull and quarter fresh strawberries. (If using frozen berries, skip this step). In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine the berries with the grated ginger and the sugar. Let this mixture rest undisturbed for about an hour.
  2. In a small frying pan, heat the oil of your choice. When hot, add the panch phoron and chillies and fry for about 30 seconds to coax out the full flavors of the spices.
  3. Add the fried spices to the waiting strawberries. Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Then add your vinegar, the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Let simmer until the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency. This should take about 20 - 25 minutes.
  4. Once done, if not using immediately, pour into sterilized jars and keep in fridge. I'm sure that this can be canned for future use, but, alas, this was just not in the cards for me today.
  5. This bright, sweet and spicy chutney is great atop the Chai Tea Infused Masala Fried Chick'n Tofu and Waffles! But, I think it would also make a great addition to a vegan cheese, fruit and cracker platter. Can't wait to try it!

Recipe #3: Chai Tea Infused Marsala Southern Fried Chick'n Tofu

###Ingredients (For my meal, I doubled the ingredients so that we would have leftovers...which are perfectly crisp when reheated in my air fryer)

####For Marinades

  1. 6 Chai Tea Bags
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 14 oz. block extra-firm, organic tofu (As always,, I try to use only non-GMO, organic and local brands when possible)
  4. 2 TB Toasted Sesame Oil
  5. 2 TB Tamari or Soy Sauce
  6. 2 Tsp Freshly grated ginger
  7. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  8. 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  9. 1/4 tsp cardamon
  10. 2 tsp agave
  11. 1 tsp smoked paprika
  12. 1 TB finely chopped,fresh garlic
  13. 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

####For Flour Dredge

  1. 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  2. 2 TB Paunch Phoron (Indian Five Spice)
  3. 2 TB Garlic Powder
  4. 2 TB Dry Mustard
  5. 2 TB Smoked Paprika
  6. 1 TB Garam Masala
  7. 2 tsp Tumeric
  8. 1 tsp Cayenne
  9. 2 cups Panko

####For Liquid Dip

  1. 2 Flax Eggs ( For each flax egg, you'll need 1 TB of Golden Flax Meal and 3 TB Warm Water. Mix well and let stand about 5 minutes before starting recipe)
  2. 2 1/4 cups Vegan Buttermilk (Combine 2 1/4 cups soy or almond milk with 3 TB Apple Cider Vinegar. Let stand
    about 5 minutes to curdle before adding to recipe).

###Method

  1. Drain and press tofu to remove as much moisture as possible. Butcher your tofu by cutting block into 6 even slices.
  2. In the meantime, Bring water to boil. Pour water over tea bags and let it steep for about 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard.
  3. Arrange tofu in a glass dish, or other non-reactive dish, and pour tea over tofu. Marinade at room temperature for 1 hour, flipping half-way through marinating time.
  4. Drain tea from tofu, reserving 1 cup of the tea marinade.
  5. In a bowl, combine reserved tea, tamari, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, agave, smoked paprika, and garlic. Pour mixture over tofu. Sprinkle chopped cilantro overtop. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. (Note: I usually prepare the tofu to this point and then pop it into the fridge overnight. This really helps get all of that great Masala flavor into your tofu). Ideally, most of the marinating liquid will be absorbed into the tofu.
  6. Mix ingredients for Flour Batter in one large dish and ingredients for liquid dip in another large dish.
  7. Heat organic canola or avocado oil (or whatever you prefer) to medium-high in a large heavy skillet. I always place a small slice of potato into the oil to test for readiness.
  8. Dip each piece of tofu into the liquid dip and then into the flour mixture, coating well. Carefully slide into the hot oil and cook until golden brown. Work carefully and quickly, because that oil is HOT and the tofu will cook quickly.
  9. As each piece of tofu is done, remove from oil and drain on paper towels to remove an excess oil.

(Note: If you have any tofu left, it is best reheated in an air-fryer, if you have it. As a matter of fact, I usually prefer frying in the air-fryer rather than in oil. It is definitely a healthier option. But, traditional frying is a rare and tasty treat.)

##Recipe 4: Cornmeal Waffles with Tomato Raisins
###Ingredients

  1. Flax Eggs ( For each flax egg, you'll need 1 TB of Golden Flax Meal and 3 TB Warm Water. Mix well and let stand about 5 minutes before starting recipe)
  2. 2 1/4 cups Vegan Buttermilk (Combine 2 1/4 cups soy or almond milk with 3 TB Apple Cider Vinegar. Let stand about 5 minutes to curdle before adding to recipe)
  3. 1/2 cup Vegan Butter, melted (you can buy your vegan butter or WATCH this blog for an upcoming post on how to make your own delicious, creamy European-style vegan butter)
  4. 1 1/4 cups Unbleached, All-purpose flour ( I use Bob's Red Mill Brand unless I'm lucky enough to get some good locally sourced flour.)
  5. 3/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal (Again, I use Bob's Red Mill if locally sourced cornmeal isn't available)
  6. 2 Tablespoons Vegan Sugar (organic cane or coconut sugar is fine)
  7. 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    10 . 1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
  10. 1/2 cup Tomato Raisins (See recipe above)

###Method

  1. Heat waffle iron.
  2. Pour flax eggs into a blender and blend on low for 10 seconds. Add vegan buttermilk and melted Vegan butter ( or "buttah" if you prefer). Blend for 15 seconds on low to combine.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (EXCEPT Tomato Raisins) and blend on medium for about 40 seconds. Scape sides of blender jar, as necessary. (Note: because of the size of my blender jar, I had to divide my batter and blend in two parts).
  4. Fold Tomato Raisins into batter.
  5. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into prepared, hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside.

Once all of the above are done, build your very own Chai Tea Infused Masala Chick'n Fried Tofu with Cornmeal Waffles, Tomato Raisins and Strawberry Chutney. ## Dig in and enjoy!

Bonus Recipe: Mint Chutney

I still had a bit of mint left in my patio garden so I decided to make this fiery mint chutney to go with my recipe. It only takes a few minutes and is brings a little zing to the party!

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 /2 to 1 green chile pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 white or yellow onion (cut into chunks)
1 Tablespoon Tamarind paste or juice (if not available, lemon juice will do)
1/4 cup water, or as needed (I found that the onion actually released so much liquid that I didn't need to add any water)

Method

Put all ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and process to a fine paste.

IMG_2088.JPG

Enjoy!

Hi, I'm Benita G. You may also know me as, or call me, @AtMemesTable.

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See you tomorrow!

Until later, all the best my fellow Steemians!

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@atmemestable It's beautiful to go on a trip to both a beach and to the excellent mountains both options and in family is more adorable. Interesting tomato chicken or tufo, tea, strawberries. Excellent the tofu placed in chai tea looks super delicious. Wonderful procedures remove the skin from the tomatoes to make raisins. The result of the raisins was imprecise. I made tomato jam and I can imagine the exquisite taste of the raisins. I love strawberries with ginger and sugar because I love strawberries in all forms of processing. I will try to follow everything to the letter of the recipe to enjoy the delicious food prepared today with this post. Thank you for showing us these recipes to enjoy good food at home. A big hug.

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Thank you, @yeninsfer! We're lucky that we live midway between the beach and the mountains, making them both great vacation destinations. And, family time is so very important. Thanks for reading my post and, if you try the recipes, let me know how they turn out. All the best!

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Oh you are a true kitchen wizard! I love chai, as well, so I'm sure that tofu is bursting with delicious flavor. Tomato raisins? Never would have thought of that either, but again I'm sure they are so good. The strawberry chutney sounds fantastic, too. There is not a component on this plate that I wouldn't love to try. Excellent entry my friend!

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Thank you, @plantstoplanks! I'm a big tea drinker and chai always takes me to my "happy place".

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I do enjoy a cup of chai! Congrats on making it through and I can't wait to see what you create for the final round!

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Really glad to see you are posting again, you always have the most creative recipes! I had never heard of tomato raisins before and those look/sound AMAZING! Everything about this is awesome :) Love it!

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Thank you so much @carlgnash! I'm so glad to be back. I've been busy developing recipes and working on the launch of my artisan vegan dessert business. But , I always love the creativity and sense of community I find on Steemit. Looking forward to getting involved in the community again!

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Thank you so very much! I appreciate and am honored by your upvote.

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Thank you!

Wow, so much healthy food makes my mouth watery. We Indians love chai, and getting a recipe from it is really amazing.

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Thank you, @codingdefined! I love Indian food and thought it would be kind of neat to marry the flavors of Indian and Southern US cuisine. I was pleased with the result.

Wow! I am amazed by the creativity and passion that is shining through here. This looks stunning, and I am sure it tastes even better. In the Ambrosiacafe, we are always looking for fun ways to tweak recipes, and this is really outstanding. Not to mention, the patience you must have to create such a dish (both the tofu and tomatoraisins.. damn!). Thank you for a great splash of inspiration!! :D

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Thank you so much, @ambrosiacafe! I see that you like Indian flavors too. I can't wait to give your Vegan wraps inspired by India (https://steemit.com/vegan/@ambrosiacafe/recipe-vegan-wraps-inspired-by-india-a-little-thank-you) They look delicious!

You know what, your first photo already made my mouth watery and hungry. The photo really talk to itself, it seems like pop up and serve in front of me. This round I have to virtually served with this delicious Waffles.

I am a waffles lovers and always took waffles either with jam or ice-cream. I haven't try something differently with tomatoes, tofu and Chai tea.

Thank you for sharing this special waffles and the detail step by step on how to prepare this delicious meal. The preparation seems required a lot of time but the end result was delicious. So the preparation time all worth it. I am sure you are a great cook.

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Thank you so much, @oliviackl! Such sweet comments! I love waffles too! If you get a chance, check out one of my earlier waffle posts (https://busy.org/@atmemestable/rum-roasted-pineapple-and-bananas-over-yeasted-waffles-with-mango-cashew-cream-food-photoshoot). Waffles make me happy!!

Rum Roasted Pineapple and Bananas over Yeasted Waffles.jpg

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Wow it look delicious. Thank you for pointing me to another recipe of yours. Now you make me hungry :) I definitely will try it.

This is my first time hearing about tomato raisins, it looks like something I wouldn't mind trying (yeah, i will be willing to go through that labor of love). It looks delicious..

I love tofu, it does very well in soaking up different flavors. The tofu, for how long should it gonna be marinated?

I heard chia eggs the other day, now its flax eggs again? Wow! Amazing things what we can do with these plants- creating different versions of the main thing, being vegan doesn't mean missing out, definitely!

This is a creative recipe, I am sure your effort paid off. I will be sure to try it out whenever I have enough time on my hand (and patience too because that tomatoes needs patience. lol)

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Thank you, @audreybits! I would love to hear what you think of the tomato raisins once you make them. I must admit that I ate so many of them, I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough left for my recipe. Highly addictive! And, I apologize, I didn't realize that I left the recipe for the tofu out of the post until you asked me about the marinating time. I've corrected this oversight and the recipe and marinating times are included in the post now. Thanks for checking out my post and I'd love to know if you try the recipe. All the best.

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They look quite delicious in photos, I can only imagine how amazing they taste (well, until I make mine). Oh, I actually thought the photos were self-explanatory and thus the reason you omitted the recipe for it but well, the recipe gave a more detailed process, I have seen it now. I would let you know once I get the time to try it out!

Wow, that's quite a recipe - good job 👊

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Thank you @ docsmith!

This dish was so full of awesome flavors! The tofu with the marinade, herbs and spice rub and then that incredible seasoned flour just sounds amazing. It is sum of all of the little things done that make a great dish. Peeling the tomatoes is a little thing that makes a huge difference. The tomato raisins just look so succulent. Thank you for making the strawberry chutney! I was hoping someone would do something sweet, sour and spicy with them. The cornmeal waffle and mint chutney really help to make this into a complete dish. Great job and good luck in the dessert round!

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Thank you so much, @chefsteve! It is my hope that my dishes will reflect passion, love and creativity. I find joy in the kitchen.

All the best!

I never had tasted chicken with strawberries combined in my life, and im cooking much, as you can see in my food blog :-) Im glad that i stopped here to learn a new unique recipe and see this fantastic step by step tutorial.

At the end i would like rather real chicken then tofu, but thats also an good vegan alternative. Well deserved ups from curie. I Also drop my part :-)

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We look forward to seeing an entry from you @avizor - thanks for showing an interest

Well done for a superb entry - you deserved to get through to the next round

howdy from Texas atmemestable! wow this was one big educational tutorial! lol. several new things for me too, I've never seen chickens and strawberrys in the same dish and I've never heard of "tomato raisins" until today..well also I didn't know people were still cooking with tofu very much either so the entire dish is eye-opening! lol.

That's a great thing though and with the great photos and instructions it's quite amazing so thank you..and will you be doing more posts of unique recipes like this or was this just for the contest?

Great photos! It clearly showed how good your dish is. Love how you used the tea to infuse flavor into your tofu. Serving it with the flavorful strawberry chutney and cornmeal waffles if perfect. I'd be up for that plate for breakfast, lunch or dinner anytime!

Congrats on making it to the last round @memestable!

Not a fan of tofu but this post got me hooked to the footer. I mean, damn... this already passes as an enticing food photography post. The close up shots and clarity of the food makes them appear so vibrant, juicy, and almost real enough. You were right about the advance planning part about the use of Chai. Reading through the instructions made me back off from trying this one out until I get confident enough to handle multiple preparations in one dish, and this one is just for a hobby.

It's amazing what you do .. There are many ingredients that are not discoverable in your dish but they look really delicious .. it is a recipe that I would like to put into practice, thanks for showing us this exellent tutorial, excellent photos, just winner .. Congratulations @atmemestable !!

Wow.. your recipe looks really yummy!! Chai Tea Infused Masala Fried Chick'n Tofu and Waffles with Tomato Raisins and Strawberry Chutney! This is such a creative mix! Tofu soaked in Chai tea? That is a first I've seen @atmemestable! Thank you so much for sharing with us the photos and the recipe. And I have never tried eating waffles with savoury dishes. I like crispy waffles, yours look crispy :)

That looks beautiful, I would probably shoot for the real chicken but it did look delicious. I have to say I have never tried the tomato raisins, they looked awesome, but I bet it was a bear to peal them all. It's bad enough blanching and peeling full sized tomatoes. I wonder how they would be fire roasted... just a thought I sometimes use the broiler to scorch the tomatoes then peel them and use a torch to scorch them again. Leaving some of the skin gives it a bit of a roasted flavor... (two new experiments...)
BTW great job, and awesome amount of detail...

wow such a complete post. The result is flawless, well presented and provocative! voe the tomatoes. Great job!