There are so many ingredients I have been exposed to over the past month that quite frankly I didn’t have any clue about. I haven’t tried many of them for one, but others I have never even heard of. Did you know tofu comes in different kinds of densities (medium firm, firm, extra firm, etc.)? Did you know that they have actually found a way to bottle smoke? I am totally serious. It’s called liquid smoke. Did you know that there is so something called nutritional yeast and that it tastes heavenly and smells like cheese? Did you know how many different vinegars that are out there? I have used like 3 of them, but there are more… many, many more. Call me naive, call me stupid, but seriously… I had no freaking clue about any of this stuff.
In my cooking ventures I have experimented with some of my own recipes. Some successful, some mediocre, but none that make me so confident that I had to share. Most of those experiments (that’s what I call them, cause in most cases that is exactly what they are) are made once or twice… well I came across one that I love and will be making again and again… and again! It was so amazing. It was inspired by my new found love: tofu.
In the past weeks I have been using tofu as my “meat crutch”. It is what I use when I want to feel like I am eating meat. HAHAHAHA! Just saying it makes me feel like I am going crazy. But, alas it is true. I use it as my meat substitution and of course I needed something to make it taste “meat like” so I resorted to my favorite cookbook of the month, Thug Kitchen (seriously, go buy the damn book already so you know what I am talking about). They have 3 tofu marinades and really I am sure that they could have had more. I have tried two of them and fell in love with one. This particular recipe that I am going to reveal to you will actually be using the one I am not “in love with”, but it’s still so freakin’ good that I had to use it in other recipes. But, this recipe really is easy over all, but does take some prep time, so make sure you read it through before you decide to cook.
I decided to make this recipe because I was having another hankering for meat and I thought… TOFU! I need to make it. The last time I made tofu I burnt it a little and then ended up eating through 2 bricks of that stuff in 3 days (all by myself). I was telling my friends it was like homemade jerky. It was so good I would just eat it straight, no sides, no veggies… just tofu. You can say I have a tofu addiction. When I decided that I wanted to make tofu again I thought, now this time I really need to make it with something so I don’t go through it so fast. What did I decide upon, you ask? I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity for stir fry. So below you will see my stir fry and the Thug Kitchen tofu marinade.
Kick in the Pants Stir Fry
Marinaded Tofu (courtesy of Thug Kitchen Cookbook, pg. 76/77)
2 bricks Extra Firm Tofu (I prefer extra firm, you can always go with your gut on this one. If you like firm or medium firm, do what you like)
1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/2 cup rice vinegar
4 Tbsp lime juice
4 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 tsp toasted sesame oil (really you can use olive oil too, it tastes the same… the smell is just a little different)
4 tsp Sriracha or similar hot sauce (I used Tapatio, and it turned out fine)
8 tsp garlic, minced
2 medium broccoli crowns, cut into florets
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 in. rounds
1 large bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1in. long strips (you can do what ever color bell pepper you want, I did green.)
1/4 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 medium onion, diced (again, whether you do red, yellow, sweet, white onion… I don’t care. It’s your stir fry, remember?)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cornstarch (mixed with some water)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
Instructions (The beginning is the same from my earlier recipe Ginger Spice Fluff & Stuff here.)
1. Drain tofu then wrap in paper towels and place between two plates Then put a can of beans or something with a little weight on the plate-press to try and press out more of the water. Leave in press for 30 minutes to an hour.
2. Mix the rest of the tofu marinade (soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, olive oil, hot sauce and garlic) and place in an 9in x 13in casserole dish.
3. Once tofu is done in our plate-press, cut 1/4 inch slices. Each tofu brick should make about 12-13 pieces. Place flat in marinade (make sure each piece has been covered by marinade). Let marinade for 2-8 hours, and stirring or flipping pieces at least once part way through. (I marinated for about 6 1/2 hours. I find that the longer you marinade the better it tastes, but totally up to you.)
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a rimmed baking sheet.
5. Place the marinated tofu pieces on the prepped baking sheet (save the marinade) and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven, turn over tofu pieces and spoon more marinade on each slice. Place back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven again, turn over tofu pieces and spoon more marinade on each slice. Place back in the oven for a final 5 minutes. By the time your done cooking the tofu edges will look like they are burnt, so just remove and set to the side. (I even thought I might have over cooked my tofu all together, but I promise everything with be alright.)
6. While tofu is in the oven combine quinoa and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
7. When the water begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 10 minutes or until water has been absorbed then remove from heat.
8. While your quinoa is cooking, in a large frying pan (that has a lid), lightly grease and put in olive oil, onion and garlic over medium heat.
9. Cook onion and garlic until the onion is slightly translucent and the garlic smells heavenly.
10. Add carrots and water to mixture, stir, and cover for about 3-5 minutes.
11. Add remaining veggies to your carrot/onion/garlic mixture, stir, and cover again for 5-7 minutes or until desired tenderness. Remove from heat, but keep covered (it continues to steam/cook).
12. By now your tofu should be done or on it’s last 5 minutes in the oven and you still have some of the marinade left. Put the marinade in small sauce pan or small skillet and add the last 1/4 cup soy sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
13. When sauce has began to boil, reduce heat to simmer and whisk in the cornstarch/water mixture until it begins to thicken (it can happen rather quickly, so keep and eye out).
14. Return veggie mixture to heat. When your sauce is to desired thickness (you do not need to add all of the cornstarch mixture, you can add a little at a time or more if you wish) add the sauce to the veggie mixture and stir well to cover all veggies.
15. Serve veggies over quinoa topped with 3-4 slices of your cooked tofu. Serves 4 and will have a few pieces of tofu left over for you to indulge in later.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but after all the prep, the actual cooking part didn’t take all that long. And eating didn’t take all that long either. HAHAHA! I had mine with a beer last night.
I think the beer was well deserved after the long day I had with my sicko boys. Poor babies. Today they woke up and were better, but now they have the dreaded chest congestion and flemmy cough. It kinda stinks all around.
This was a great meal for those who want to feel full too. It made my tummy happy, that’s for sure. Plus, feeding the tofu addiction is ok too. HAHAHAHA! Are you addicted to any singular food item or meal? This also happens to be the theme for my next cooking club meet up… Foods that you adore/love/are obsessed with. I have a few of them, but this is one of the new ones I have discovered. Share with me some of yours.