Most people have a handful of “standards” in their recipe collections: things they’ve tried that generally seem to work, and thus are used when cooking for a new person. Well, one of my favourites is a recipe off the amazing website, Vegan Yum Yum, which is a fusion of all the senses: hot, sweet, salty, sour and bitter.
I’ve made this recipe my fair share of times, and not only do I love it, but it’s generally a crowd-pleaser. The nice thing about it is that it’s also fairly customizable. While I always make the same sauce and use the same tofu-frying method, the greens are interchangeable (often I will use spinach, or kale), and the quinoa is also (substitute with brown rice, noodles, et cetera).
Perhaps the trickiest aspect involved in making this meal is the timing. Since there are a handful of different things you’re doing and different cooking times, be certain to prepare as much ahead of time and pace yourself properly so nothing burns or is forgotten.
-Combine 1 1/2 cups water, 3/4 cup brown rice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt and zest of lime, cooking the rice as directed.
-Mix 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 3/4 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, 1 clove pressed garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 4 chiffonaded mint leaves and zest of lime.
-Cut a block of tofu into small triangles. Meanwhile, heat up a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place the tofu in a layer across the pan, and using a spatula, gently press the tofu down, to make the liquid drain out. As it begins to brown, flip the tofu and repeat on the other side, taking care to avoid burning it. After 10 minutes of dry frying, add the sauce and stir so it coats all the tofu, but then turn off the heat immediately. The sauce will begin to bubble up and form a glaze, at which point, your tofu is ready.
-Stack a bunch of greens on top of each other and roll, slice them into 3/4-inch segments. Place them in a pan with 3 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon lime juice and a pinch of salt. Cover them with a lid and cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes until they are steamed.
-When everything is ready, placed the rice on the place and layer the greens on top of it, with tofu on the very top. Use any leftover slices of lime or mint leaves as garnish, and serve.