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Stir fried Tofu Donburi


I was watching a commercial on tv the other day - Weight Watchers, maybe - I don't recall exactly. In the commercial, a woman is told she can select what she wants to eat and still lose weight and on the screen, she strikes out tofu with a grimace on her face - basically, the message is, "Yuk, I really don't like tofu!" This seems to reflect a common idea (in the UK at least) that tofu is solely for vegetarians and rather odd people who enjoy eating this squidgy, anaemic, tasteless bean curd.


Still reading? Good. Because tofu just does not deserve this bad wrap. I won't go into the health benefits of tofu. If you are interested in this aspect, then it won't take much of a search on the internet to convince you that you should eat it for these benefits alone.


So why am I a big fan of tofu? Well, it is what I call a culinary version of a blank canvas. What does that mean? Basically, tofu's lack of flavour means you can spice it, sweeten it, salt it, flavour it anyway old how. Yes, it does look a little pasty, but partly drain off the water content and then pop it in a hot pan for a few minutes and you'll see that pasty face take on a light golden tan. So suddenly, you have a complete plant protein food with calcium, manganese, iron and Vitamin A (sorry I said I wouldn't talk about the health benefits, didn't I) that tastes good and looks good in a bowl.


Still reading? OK let's move onto the recipe, shall we? If you know a little bit about Japanese food, you'll probably know that a "donburi" is a meal that involves serving food over a bed of rice. (Take a look at my site and you'll find lots of donburi dishes.) Although I call this recipe "Stir fried Tofu Donburi", that's really only half of the story. The missing chapters are about the other vegetable ingredients and the sauce that flavours the dish.


The vegetables are really quite simple. Half a red bell pepper, some spring onions, garlic and ginger. I use a red pepper simply for the colour contrast but by all means use a green or yellow pepper if that's what you have available. The spring onions add more crunch and a little tang while the garlic and ginger enrich the flavour of the dish.


Moving onto the sauce, it's a combination of some sugar (sweetness), soy sauce (saltiness), mirin and oyster sauce (umami and richness). If you want to serve this as a bona fide vegetarian dish, then you can find vegetarian/vegan versions of oyster sauce which are just as good as the original version.


This dish takes about 25 minutes from the work surface to the table and that includes the time to drain the water out of the tofu, so not only is it healthy and delicious, it's quick and quite simple too. What's not to like about that?


So if you think you'd like to give this dish a runout, then you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Stir fried Tofu Donburi or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.


Happy stir frying! Kurumi XXXX.

 

ingredients


(makes 2 generous servings)


2 portions cooked rice

1 packet of medium firm or firm tofu (approx. 400g / 14oz)

1/2 red bell pepper

3 spring onions

1.5cm / 1/2 inch fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic

2.5 tbsp vegetable oil


for the sauce


1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp oyster sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce

2 sheets kitchen paper


some sliced spring onions for a garnish (optional)

 

prepare your rice


open the tofu pack drain off the excess liquid. place the on a sheet of kitchen paper and wrap. set aside for at least 10 mins. (this will allow the tofu to give up more of its water content)


deseed and slice the bell pepper. cut into small picecs


trim off the top and end of the spring onions, then slice finely


peel the ginger and remove the garlic skins. slice the ginger and garlic, then chop it all finely


after 10 - 15 minutes has passed, unwrap the tofu and disgard the kitchen paper. slice the tofu horizontally to produce two thinner blocks, then slice & cut into small cubes


heat 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a frying pan. add the tofu carefully and stir fry for about 5 minutes or until the tofu is lightly browned


transfer the tofu to a plate and set aside


add the chopped spring onion, ginger and garlic to the pan. stir fry for about 1 minute

(add the remaing 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil if the pan becomes too dry.)


next add and stir fry the chopped bell pepper for about 1 minute. return the cooked tofu and mix gently, taking care not to break up the tofu cubes


add the sugar, soy sauce, mirin and oyster sauce and stir well


place the cooked rice on a plate or a bowl. pile the stir fried tofu and peppers over the top. garnish with the sliced spring onions


serve immediately

 


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