When I was a young child, my babysitter served us PB&J every. single. day. It got to the point where I eventually cried out “no more!” and to this day I still try to avoid that sandwich staple. Recently, I’ve similarly become tired of my two go-to sources of protein: chicken and ground beef and have begun to eat more and more like a quasi-vegetarian. My new best friend in this diet shake-up? The delicious and oh-so-versatile tofu.
I think tofu scares a lot of people because it’s different and mushy and white and bland… and that just makes mad because tofu is none of that if cooked properly. It can assume a huge variety of textures and tastes based on how you make it and is healthier than chicken in nearly every way.
It had been a long time since I had cooked with tofu so I did a quick google search for tofu recipes and found this one from the vegan foodblog lazy cat kitchen. It looked amazing… and friends – it tastes amazing as well. I also am in love with her cooking technique (method?) of working with the tofu.
I’m excited to continue exploring with tofu in the upcoming weeks as I take a break from using chicken and beef as the main meal option. This recipe is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy and I think you’ll love it.
- 400g extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into squares
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- vegetable oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar or maple syrup
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2-3 green onions, sliced, white (bottom) parts and green bits separated
- 1 large red bell pepper or several mini bell peppers (I used 2 red and 2 yellow), sliced.
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 large pinch of red chili pepper flakes (I used about half a packet of a Papa Johns red chili pepper flakes packet)
- 1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- sesame seeds (opt.)
- Press tofu using a tofu press, or by wrapping it up in paper towels and lightly squeezing until the excess water is drained.
- Cut the tofu into equal sized squares and place into a sandwich zip-loc bag. Pour 2tbsp soy sauce and shake bag so that all the tofu is coated in sauce. Dust the tofu with cornstarch and shake the bag.
- In a small bowl, mix the ¼ cup soy sauce, 4 tbsp water, rice wine vinegar and maple syrup/brown sugar, and pepper. In a separate small bowl, prepare a cornstarch slurry (mix 2 tsp cornstarch with 2 tbsp water).
- Heat up about 3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a medium sized wok or pan. Once the oil gets nice and hot, fry the tofu in batches until golden brown. Set aside on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Once the tofu has finished frying, add about another tbsp of oil and add the white/bottom part of the green onion, and the bell peppers. Saute on medium heat until softened, and then add the pressed garlic, grated ginger, and the chili flakes.
- Pour in the sauce and the cornstarch slurry and mix until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Add the tofu back in and heat through.
- Serve over a bowl of rice and garnish with the green (top) part of the green onion and sesame seeds.
The “sweetly” smooth melodic line of Yo-Yo Ma’s cello soars above the “spicy” accordion ostinato while the piece is moved forward by fiercely steady beat that drives you into wanting to have more and more of this piece. It’s honestly this dish, music-afied.