Monday, February 25, 2008

Sweet-Sour Tofu & Vegetables

This is from a recipe in Mollie Katzen's UN-revised Enchanted Broccoli Forest from 1982 - in the newer version (2000), she redid this recipe to have a sweet sour sauce with more traditional orange juice & pineapple, instead of the soy sauce, honey, ginger, lemon juice and tomato paste combo of the original. She also now recommends par-boiling the tofu, to help it keep its shape without adding fat & calories - this technique works nicely, but a little bit of browning in oil adds an undeniable level of flavor to the 'fu! (along with the fat & calories)

I was too lazy to do either last night, and I also made this to use up the veggies I had, which turned into an exercise in creative compost bucket stuffing.

Sweet-sour tofu with spinach, green pepper, and cashews

Put a cup rice in a pot with 2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered. When the rice boils, salt it, cover, and turn the heat as low as possible - you'll have rice in about 15 minutes.

For sauce, combine:
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 TBLS finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or put through a press
5 TBLS water

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Dump it directly into the sauce if you are feeling lazy; saute it in a little oil, or, alternatively, put it in a saucepan with water to cover, bring to a boil, and boil for about 10 minutes, before draining well, and dumping into the sauce. (This Mollie Katzen technique gets the water out of the tofu and makes it at once firmer and more absorbent)

Add about 1 TBLS oil to a large skillet or wok. Add 1/2 an onion and half a green pepper, both cut into thin strips, salt & pepper, and start stir-frying. Add 3 - 4 cups more cut vegetables; I used 3 peeled and slice broccoli stems and the few florets that were not yellow, 2 leafs of kale, and about half of a bunch of cleaned, stemmed spinach, and continue to stirfry, until the vegetables are starting to brown. Add the sauce and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes, adding several large handfuls of toasted salted cashews at the last minute.

Serve ladled over the rice - I did not marinate the tofu, or fry nor par-boil it, and the mix tasted much better lukewarm when I was putting it away, after all the ingredients had had some time to make friends with the sauce - probably it'll be good for microwaved lunches, too.

No comments: