Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chinese Stir Fry & a Tofu Tutorial

Lets talk tofu. Tofu is another highly misunderstood food. It is seen as gross, “fake meat,” a soy block…it sadly gets a bad wrap. In reality, tofu is a great source of protein, and its yummy! It is a blank canvas that soaks up and takes on the flavor of whatever its cooked with. Not to mention, you can do SO many things with it! You can bake it, fry it, stir fry it, grill it, blend it into a sauce, make a smoothie out of it, whip it into whipped cream, even mash it into a breakfast porridge! The possibilities are endless.
Well, when I mentioned that we were having tofu, my dad winced and said…disguise it so I don’t know! Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me.
Chinese Stir Fry with Mango Spring Rolls
First, the brand of tofu matters!! I like the consistency and taste of Mori-Nu silken Extra Firm tofu. And I prepare it in a very specific way: I cut it into teeny tiny little cubes (about the size of dice!) But let me take you step by step.
1) Tofu needs to be drained. So I take it out of the package and slice it into 8 slabs. I the place those on a paper towel lined baking sheet and put 2 more towels on top and then put a big frying pan on top of them and press all the extra water out of the tofu.
2) While its pressing, I make the MARINADE! Tofu soaks up flavor, so make a yummy marinade!!
2 T Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
2 T water
1 t agave
1 t apple cider vinegar
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t toasted sesame oil OR EVOO
3) Then I cut each slab into tiny little cubes and put all the little cubes into a bowl with the marinade and let sit for about 15 – 20 minutes.
4) Put all the cubes onto a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil in a single layer and pour rest of marinade over. Pop in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes, turning each over half way through.
This is a definitely a labor of love for your tofu, but let me tell you, it is delicious and sooo worth it. They caramelize and almost become like candy. My dad actually loved it!
Now for the rest of the recipe.
I sautéed onions, carrots, garlic and ginger in 1 T EVOO while I cooked my rice pasta in a  separate pot. Right before the noodles were finished, I stirred in about a cup of frozen peas and my tofu just to warm through. I then added another recipe of my tofu marinade to give it a sauce. I drained the pasta and added it to the pan with my veggies and mixed it all together. I added a few tablespoons of pasta water to stretch the sauce.
With my stir fry, I made mango spring rolls!!!!
I combined shredded cucumber and shredded carrots with 4 cubes of tofu and some cubed mango. I wrapped it in rice paper. For the peanut dipping sauce:
1 T peanut butter
1 t agave
1 1/2 t apple cider vinegar
water to consistency
grated ginger
Mix all together and adjust to taste…add more cider if its too sweet.
This dinner was a big hit. I hope you try it out and enjoy! Happy Friday!

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