I’ll be cooking for company a few times in the next month and have been going through cookbooks and recipe files in my menu planning quest. Until everything is decided upon, I tend to stress a bit before the fun part starts. But right now, the stress mode is where I’m at. My parents will be passing through town on their way home from vacation in less than a week and I have no idea what to make when they come for lunch.
Needless to say, what to cook for tonight’s dinner was the last thing I wanted to think about. But a new cookbook arrived today and I quickly paged through it before setting it aside to peruse later with a glass of wine. Pete asked if I was going to make something from the book for supper. I passed a page with a stir fry recipe using a bunch of ingredients I didn’t have, however, that gave me an idea for a fairly quick and easy dinner I could make—stir fry with stuff I did have on hand. This is what I came up with and Pete deemed it absolutely delicious (three helpings delicious!). I had to agree, but only went back for seconds.
If you have a rice cooker, that’s ideal. I received one years ago as a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law and consider it a true kitchen necessity. Perfect rice every time, whether it’s white or brown. And you simply put in the rice, water, and salt, turn it on, and you don’t have to give it a thought. When the rice is cooked, it goes into “keep warm” mode and will stay that way until you’re ready to eat.
Spicy Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry
Hot, cooked brown basmati rice
¼ cup Tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 heaping teaspoon Asian chili garlic sauce (use more or less depending on heat preference—this amount gave the perfect kick!)
2 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
Mix above ingredients and set aside.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob of gingerroot, peeled and grated
2-3 scallions, cut diagonally into ½ inch slices
1 small green pepper, cut into chunks
1 large carrot, shredded or cut into long, thin slices with vegetable peeler
A handful of cremini mushrooms (baby portabellas), sliced
1 cup cubed extra firm tofu, browned (or other protein of choice)
1-2 tablespoons peanut or grape seed oil
2 teaspoons Arrowroot (can use cornstarch if you don’t have Arrowroot)
2 teaspoons water
Toasted sesame seeds
Roasted, unsalted peanuts
Rinse the rice and get that cooking. A rice cooker is nice because you can fire it up and forget about it until you’re ready to eat. Once the sauce ingredients are mixed, brown the tofu, and cut your veggies. Mix the arrowroot and water and place it and the sauce near your stove. This will come together quickly once everything is prepped, so you’ll want to get started on the stir-frying just a few minutes before the rice is done.
Heat a wok or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of the oil and when it’s hot, add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the veggies and stir fry until tender crisp, about a minute or two at most. Stir in the browned tofu. Pour the sauce over the stir fry and mix. Once the sauce is bubbling, pour the arrowroot/water mixture in and stir. Let bubble and thicken while stirring. Serve over brown rice and top with toasted sesame seeds and/or peanuts. Serves 2-3.