Sauteed Tofu and Brown rice Stir fry

Tofu is definitely an "acquired taste" to a lot of people. Meaning they don't like it much or choose to not eat it because they believe it has no flavor. Well they can be sort of right about the no flavor thing. Tofu is one of those rare foods that instead of having it's own unique taste, it takes on the taste of the foods cooked with it. Rice can also be the same way, very plain unless you work with it. The thing about both of these ingredients are that they are very good for you, but you have to take in to account to add a few things to get them to have the right flavor you're looking for.

I've been known to cut up tofu and let it soak in chicken/beef/vegtable broth, to give it some more flavor. I also try to season it quite a bit more than usual (I don't use as many spices in any other food, at least I don't think I do :) ) and use sesame seed oil (much more flavor than your regular cooking oil, not to mention it smells wonderful) to cook it in when I choose to try to crisp it up a bit. Now when I say spice I should probably say season instead. Spice tends to make people think of two things, either "hot" or in the case of my husband (and all the other people out there that enjoy it) Dune ("He who controls the Spice, controls the universe!"). I felt the need before I moved on to clarify that I didn't use hot spices (though I really really wanted to), or ones that aren't considered hot when cooked.

Tofu and Brown Rice Stir fryBrown rice is great in so many ways (not processed as much as say white rice) but the flavor is pretty dull. Make sure to rinse your rice till it the water is clear and not cloudy, not only does this get rid of starch and other little bits that you don't want to eat but it makes the rice taste much better. I like to take some oil or butter and add it to the pan for the rice then add the rice to it and let it get a little brown. When you do this you MUST watch it and stir frequently as it burns easily and will stick. A nutty aroma tells you when it's ready for you to do the next part, either put more flavor in it or add water. I used garlic salt, chicken bullion and ginger powder in mine to give it a wonderful, yet light smell and taste to it. When you add this continue to stir it into the rice for a minute or so longer. Add your water (rice is usually 1 1/2 cups water to every cup of rice, if you don't like to use a measuring cup or don't have one I go with the "about an inch above the rice" method), bring to a boil and cover (reduce heat to low).

Tofu and Brown Rice Stir fryDo NOT take the lid off no matter how tempting it is (I've also read that putting the lid on at an angle to allow steam out, then when there are holes in the rice from water drips put the lid on tight and down to low heat works well, but I personally do not do this... blame my mother for making sure to say "Do NOT take the lid off!" :P ). I am lucky and have a glass lid for the pan I use to cook rice in, which means I can tell usually when my rice is done by looking at it and seeing drip holes in the rice from the water. When this occurs leave it on the low heat for about 15 minutes longer, turn off the stove then and fluff your rice. You can add many things at this point (green onion, chopped nuts, etc).
Tofu on the other hand is of course different. I choose to fry mine lightly till it had a golden color to it. Using extra firm tofu place it on a couple of napkins and using another couple, pat it dry of the liquid from the package. I cut mine into cubes, but the shape doesn't matter as long as they are similar in size so they cook evenly. Heat up a pan at medium heat and add sesame seed oil (doesn't need too much 1-2 tablespoons should be plenty) and because I like sesame seeds, add them into the oil just before adding your tofu. Cook this till there is a golden color to it and add in chopped up fresh ginger ( I used a piece about the size of both my thumbs together), chopped green onions, and about 3 cloves of minced (or pressed with a garlic press) garlic. Let saute for a few more minutes then add in your veggies (zucchini and shredded carrots for me this time). Now I'd suggest adding in soy sauce to this mixture, but I waited till after I took my pictures to add mine because I loved the colors of the food with out it.
Tofu and Brown Rice Stir fry
Spoon your stir fry onto the rice and add an Asian hot sauce or more soy sauce on top. I also would suggest if you like hot peppers, dice some up and add it to the stir fry, I personally couldn't do that unless I wanted and even larger battle about food than I already got about the soy sauce "burning" someones tongue/neck (someone, being the little one). I'm still thinking it's because he didn't want to eat the tofu cause it wasn't in his range of things that are normal, even though I make plenty of things with it that he doesn't even know it's in :). The hubby loved it and I loved it, considering taste buds at the age of 9 don't know what is good all the time, I'd still say this dinner was a success (at least for 2 out of the 3 of us anyways :) )!


DawnK said...

I think I'm going to try this! I had some tofu at Noodles & Company tonight, because I wanted to try something different. Most of my pieces were tough and chewy. Haven't eaten enough tofu, to know what optimal tofu is. I think I need to make it at home and figure it out! This recipe is easy and sounds so yummy!

Rochelle said...

I hope it turns out for you, DawnK! Just remember the more seasoning you add to it the more flavorful it will get because tofu takes on the flavors you choose to cook it with :)