Tofu sticks wrapped in a sweet-sour-spicy-exotic sauce and served with roasted vegetables and seasoned rice.
Confession: Deep in my soul, I connect more with the European and Indian food cultures than with the Asian.
It’s not that I don’t like Asian food; I like it a lot! However, until a few years ago, I was reluctant to make it, just the way you are sometimes put off by something (or someone) foreign.
Recently, when boundaries are blurred and Fusion sets the tone – a bridge was created, which allowed me to get to know this intelligent and aesthetic cuisine more closely.
This time I chose an easy recipe: Stir-fried tofu in a spicy sweet and sour glaze upgraded with exotic spices, served with braised veggies, and seasoned white rice. A delicious, satisfying, and beautiful meal; Fusion at its best!
Start with the vegetables: slice sweet potato, zucchini, onion, potato, etc. into slices or sticks; Arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper; Add mini bell peppers in a variety of colors, brush with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Bake for about thirty minutes until the vegetables are soft and brown.
In the meantime, prepare the rice: fry the onion, add one anise star and two crushed cardamom pods, add onion and fry until translucent. Add boiling water, salt, pepper, and rice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook in a pressure cooker for seven minutes, fifteen minutes in the microwave, or about twenty minutes in a standard pot on the stove.
Next, cut the tofu into sticks about one cm thick (0.4-inch), dip it in corn starch, and fry on both sides until crispy and golden. Remove to a plate, add to the wok ginger and garlic; after a few seconds, add the ingredients of the sauce (recipe below). Return the tofu to the pan and stir-fry until it is completely coated.
Put rice on a plate, add roasted veggies and place the tofu sticks on top. Garnish with parsley, cilantro, or scallion, add toasted sesame seeds if desired, and serve – not before you take a photo of this stunning colorful dish.
So now, after we became friends – the Asian cuisine and I, my appetite opened up (how could it not) – to explore Vietnamese Cuisine (coming soon) 😉
Enjoy, and let me know how it turned out 😋❣️
- ½ A large sweet potato (or a small sweet potato) peeled and cut into slices about half a cm (0.2-Inch) thick
- ½ Zucchini washed and cut into slices about half a cm (0.2-Inch) thick
- 1 A medium potato washed and cut into sticks about 1 cm (0.4-Inch) thick
- 1 Peeled onion cut into slices about a 1 cm (0.4-Inch) thick
- 6-8 units Mini bell pepper, various colors
- olive oil for brushing
- salt, black pepper, by taste
Seasoned White Rice
- 1½ cup jasmine rice, washed and strained
- ⅓ cup canola, or any mild oil
- 1 star anise
- 2 pods crushed cardamom
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2½ cups boiling water
- 1¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black ground pepper
- 300 gram tofu, drained and dried with a paper towel
- ⅓ cup corn starch
- 2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon mild oil
- 3-4 cloves minced garlic by taste
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce or tabasco, by taste
- 2 Tablespoon soy sauce add gradually by taste
- 1-2 Tablespoon maple or agave syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoon corn starch diluted in1/4 cup of water
- ⅛ tsp five spice powder or a pinch of each: cinnamon, anise, fennel, clove and white pepper
- pinch ground cardamom optional
- spring onion, cilantro, parsley, toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (392 F).
- Arrange the vegetables on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Bake for about half an hour – fifteen minutes on each side, until the vegetables are soft and golden-brown.
Seasoned White Rice
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker (or a standard pot), add one anise star and two crushed cardamom pods, and fry for a few seconds.
- Add boiling water, salt and black pepper and bring to a boil.
- Add the washed and strained rice, mix well and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook on high heat until it whistles. Lower to medium-low heat, so you can still hear a whistle, and cook for seven minutes. Remove from heat and keep closed until serving. Follow the safety instructions for opening the pot! To prepare the rice in a standard saucepan or microwave – see the note at the end of the recipe.
- Cut the tofu into 1 cm (0.4-Inch) thick sticks.
- Put the corn starch on a plate; Dip the tofu on all sides, shake to remove excess, and place on a plate.
- Heat oil in a large pan or wok. Sear the tofu sticks on all sides until nicely golden. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.
- Add minced ginger and garlic to the pan; Fry for a few seconds until there is a wonderful smell.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients: Sriracha sauce, soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, five spice powder, ground cardamom, water, and diluted cornflour, and mix until it thickens. If the sauce is too thick, gradually add water until you get the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Return the tofu sticks to the pan and stir-fry to coat them on all sides.
- Put rice on a plate, arrange the vegetables on top of the rice, place tofu sticks on top of the vegetables, and garnish with spring onions, cilantro, parsley, and toasted sesame seeds. Remember to take a picture to add to your collection 😉