Friday, October 23, 2009

Chili-Glazed Tofu over Asparagus and Rice

A lot of people make a face at the mention of tofu - but it probably just means they don't know how to prepare it right! This dish makes a quick week-night supper.

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 1 (3.5 ounce) bag of boil-in-bag rice and cook for 10 minutes - I prefer brown rice to white, but buy whichever you like; they're both vegan. Carefully remove the bag from the water, but leave the water boiling in the pot. Add 2 and 1/4 cups chopped asparagus and cook for 1 minute; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon raw sugar, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I recommend low-sodium varieties), 1 teaspoon minced ginger, and 1 teaspoon hot chili sauce with garlic. Stir with a whisk and set aside. Look for that last ingredient in the Asian section of the grocery store - it should be vegan but do an ingredient check: mine contained chili, garlic, sesame oil, and spices (from Hsin Tung Yang, which - ironically enough for this website - started out as a beef jerkey company). As for the ginger, I thought I had some at home but did not, so used 1/2 tsp. ground ginger in a pinch.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut 1 pound of extrafirm tofu into 9 slices, and sprinkle them evenly with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes on each side in the skillet. Add the soy saue mixture and cook for 20 seconds, stirring constantly (though I found it hard to stir around the tofu slices, so more just agitated things in the pan). Remove from heat.

Combine the cooked rice with the asparagus, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3/4 cup preshredded carrot, and 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil.

Serve 3 tofu slices over 1 and 1/3 cups of the rice mixture on each of 3 plates, for 3 servings of 300 calories.

As you can tell from the instructions, things move fast in this recipe! My kitchen was full of distractions tonight (notably my boyfriend on a very intriguing call over his AT&T phone bill!) which meant I made a couple mistakes - I cooked my asparagus a minute longer than specified, and cooked the soy sauce mixture with the tofu for closer to a full minute. I also forgot to stir the carrots into the rice, which meant adding it after I had plated! None of these things, luckily, ended up making a difference, but I do recommend making this dish without too much background distraction.

boil-in-bag rice $2.59
asparagus $3.75
soy sauce $3.39
hot chili sauce with garlic $3.49
extrafirm tofu $2.39
preshredded carrot $1.99

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance