Five-Spice Tofu with Slightly Sweet and Sour Veggies

We had a weekday dinner at its best on Wednesday: delicious five-spiced tofu, slightly sweet and sour stir-fried veggies, and a bowl of brown rice. Yumminess can’t be exaggerated, it was all very delicious. It happened to be the Chinese New Year’s eve as well – everyone was wishing happy new year for each other at the Asian grocery, Chinese and Malaysians and Finns alike, which made the tofu-shopping experience especially fun!

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We cooked the brown rice in our pressure cooker, and it was ready in 20 minutes – the exact time it took to fry the tofu and make the stir-fry. The vegetables were slightly sweet and a little sour with a hint of sesame, and were a perfect accompaniment to the very five-spicy tofu. The tofu recipe makes enough for four, so the two of us had tofu leftovers for lunch yesterday, but the veggies were gone in no time. Reheating stir-fries isn’t very recommended anyway, since the whole point of stir-frying is to maintain the crispy freshness of the vegetables.

Tofu:

  • 500 g firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons five spice powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave syrup (or other sweetener)
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • some oil for frying
  • (cilantro for garnish)

I cut the tofu block in slices about 1 cm thick, wrapped them in cheese cloth, and pressed them for about half an hour. Then I cut them in small triangles (I really like triangular food), tossed together all the marinade ingredients, and let the tofu marinate in an air tight container in the fridge for about 3 hours.

When the rice was cooking, Heikki heated the oil in our wok pan on high heat until it was very hot, and fried the tofu triangles until they had browned a little. We covered them to wait until everything else was ready, and sprinkled them with a little cilantro before serving.

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Veggies:

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 and 1/2 dl broccoli florets
  • some oil for frying

I cut the onion in wedges, broke the broccoli in small florets, and cut the carrots and the bell pepper in small triangles.

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Heikki wiped the wok with a piece of paper towel after he had fried the tofu, and then he heated a little more oil in the pan until it was really hot. First, he fried the onions for a few minutes, then added the carrots and fried them for a minute or so, and last he added the bell peppers and the broccoli, and kept on frying for a minute, not more, all the time tossing everything around in the wok with two wooden spatulas.

Slightly Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon potato starch

While Heikki was stir-frying, I mixed the sauce ingredients together, and when the veggies were done, I stirred the sauce to mix in the starch that always sinks to the bottom, and poured the sauce in the wok. Heikki tossed the veggies to coat them in the sauce, and heated it for 15 seconds or so to thicken.

Now, we ladled the rice and the veggies in warmed serving bowls, and immediately enjoyed our New Year’s dinner.

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Another reason I prefer hard-cover cookbooks: perfect for tofu pressing!

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