When I first moved to this country, tofu had just started to become popular and ……….well, to be honest I did not like it !!! I did not find the texture appealing at all !!!! But it was also unavoidable as every Thai and Chinese restaurant that I went to , used it as an substitute for meat !!! Then……you know where this is going……once on a trip to Chicago to see my sis , we went to one of those restaurants where you pick your veggies and sauce and sides and they stir fry it right n front of you. Well, the guy sautéed my tofu…..you see we had a boat load of walking to do and I needed all the strength I could get…if that meant eating tofu, so be it !!!! Back to topic, he sautéed/ fried …whatever you want to call it…..until it was slightly crisp and then tossed into the sauce at the last minute. It was a revelation for me as the tofu then took on a whole new texture. I found myself actually enjoying it !!!!
The inevitable happened after that…….my experiments began !!! Our cousin , R , says that I am happiest when I talk, breathe, think and touch food. I am sure the order is wrong but you get the idea !!!! I keep complaining the my oldest N, is obsessed with football until I realized that I was the same way about food only I am mature enough to make sure we talk about other topics too….well at least I think so !!! If someone has an opinion to the contrary, let me know !!!
During one of these experiments, I realized they taste better if I marinate them for at least 20 minutes before hand. Recently, my aunt L, taught me a new way to make them crisp. Instead of shallow frying in oil, bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes !!! I then started using various sauces to flavour my stir frys and now I make them all the time. I like the versatility…….first I can use whatever veggies are left over , which in my house are pretty much carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, sometimes cauliflower. Once in a while, I have sugar snap peas!! Also when I watching my weight, I eat just the stir fry but the kids will eat the rice so its a win win situation !!!
This particular stir fry came about when I did not have all the ingredients to make either of 2 different dishes but I had enough to cobble together something new !!! I call it my SPICY GINGER TOFU WITH VEGGIES AND PINEAPPLE. Its a long and unimaginative name ,I know but its the end of the month and I am running on fumes !!!!
I am pleased with my experiment and resulting dish. It is definitely spicy !!! That heat is a perfect foil for the bland, cool rice. I marinated the tofu in a marinade with a lot of ginger, hence the name, so there is warmth and earthy heat from that too.There is some sweetness from pineapple and its juice and to a certain extent Hoisin Sauce too !! Hoisin sauce is a thick, soy bean based Chinese dipping sauce with garlic, vinegar and chillies. I find that it is on the sweeter side for me so I always add red pepper flakes or paste to balance it. The taste…..how to describe it , first it is subjective while I find it slightly sweet, there are also notes of salt, spice and tang. If you don’t have it, just mix together soy, black bean paste, honey, hot sauce, garlic,sesame oil and pepper. This is going to the Healthy Stir Fry event at Foodie Mom Cooks.
SPICY GINGER TOFU WITH VEGGIES AND PINEAPPLE
1 slab firm Tofu, cut into cubes
3 tbsp minced Ginger
2 ½ tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
½ tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Brown Sugar
2 cloves Garlic, minced
¼ tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
½ cup Pineapple Juice
1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
½ medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
½ medium Yellow Bell Pepper, cut into squares
½ medium Red Bell Pepper, cut into squares
1 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup Pineapple, cubed
1 tsp Cornstarch
Salt to taste
Mix together the ginger with 1 ½ tbsp soy, ½ tsp red chilli flakes, turmeric, sugar, 1 tsp salt , toasted sesame oil and 4 tbsp pineapple juice.
Marinate the tofu in marinade for at least 30 minutes.
Then either shallow fry in 2-4 tbsp oil or bake in a 400 f oven till golden brown.
Meanwhile, blanch the carrots or cook them in a microwave for 2-3 minutes. It should be almost cooked but still crisp.
In 2 tbsp oil, sauté the onions and bell peppers for 2 minutes
Now add the garlic and carrots. Sauté fro another 2 minutes.
Add the remaining pineapple juice, hoisin sauce, 1 tsp salt. Once it starts to bubble ( should just take a minute ) add the cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water.
Add the pineapple chunks and cook for a minute or two.
Serve with rice.