Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry

I know, I know. How hard can it be to make stir fry? The truth is, I agree it's actually pretty easy, but the trickiest part is cooking the tofu just right! Of course if you own a deep fryer (I wish!), it would be pretty simple to just plop the cut up tofu right into the boiling oil and let that tofu get super crispy. Although I would love a deep fryer, it's probably a good thing I don't own one. I would seriously deep fry everything.

Lauren and I have experimented with cooking tofu in various ways in the past, but we never could really get it just right. Lauren did make marinated baked tofu a few times that was really good, but I wanted to come up with a way to cook it on the stove (less dishes!), yet have it still be delicious without being super greasy. I'm really not a fan of the silky texture of tofu and much prefer it to be a tiny bit crispy. Lauren likes to call homemade stir fry, "stir fry of my eye". That's how good it is!

Makes 4 servings
Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice (I used half brown, half black this time)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 package of extra firm tofu
- 1/4 cup of soy sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 of a yellow onion
- 1 bell peppers (any color, I used yellow)
- 1 pound of green beans
- 1 cup of frozen, shelled edamame
- Pepper to taste

1. Start cooking the rice. I find that the easiest and most reliable way is using a rice cooker. I add 2 cups of water to the 1 1/2 cups of brown/black rice, and simply just turn the rice cooker on. It takes about 45 minutes to completely cook, which gives me plenty of time to prepare and finish the rest of the meal.

2. While the rice is cooking, start heating the olive oil in a large sauce pan on high heat.
3. Drain and squeeze as much liquid as possible from the tofu. Chop the tofu into bite-size cubes. Toss the tofu into the sizzling pan of oil and reduce heat to medium. Keep a continuous eye on the tofu so it doesn't burn. Using a spatula, flip the tofu onto its various sides so that the entire cube gets an even golden brown color. I end up needing to flip my tofu every five minutes or so. Once the majority of the tofu achieves its golden brown color, pour the cooked tofu into a separate and set aside. Leave the pan on the stove, add just a little bit more olive oil and reduce to low.

4. Chop the onion into thin strips and saute on low heat until lightly browned and translucent.

5. Wash the bell pepper and green beans. Chop your vegetables however you desire. I like to chop my green beans into bite-size pieces, and my bell pepper into strips.
6. Microwave the green beans in a covered bowl with a little bit of water for two minutes. Drain the green beans and add to the pan with onion. Also, mince the garlic and add with the green beans. Turn the heat up to medium.
7. Add the bell pepper strips.
8. Put the edamame in a colander and run warm water over it until all pieces are completely defrosted. Add the edamame to the saute pan. Continue sauteing until all veggies are completely cooked. 
9. Add the cooked tofu and soy sauce to the veggies. Pepper to taste. Mix and saute for 2-3 minutes.

8. By this time, your rice should be finished, or almost ready. Throw some of your veggies and tofu on top of a scoop of rice, add a bit more soy sauce (if you wish), and enjoy that stir fry of your eye!