My husband and I used to live in Carlisle, in the very North of England, and there was a Thai restaurant there that we loved. Usually when we eat out I like to try something new, but here I would order exactly the same thing every time – Sticky Tofu Noodles to start, then Sweet and Sour Cod with Coconut Rice. It was just so delicious I never wanted to have anything else. That was the first time I ever ate tofu and I’ve been battling with it ever since. The tofu in my starter was so sticky and crispy, I’ve never had it like that anywhere else, and I’ve never been able to recreate it myself, not for lack of trying! In the end I gave up trying to get super crispy, sticky tofu and just tried cooking it simply with lovely oriental flavours, and this recipe is what I came up with.
This is a light meal, packed full of flavour, and though it takes a bit of time to prep the tofu, once it’s marinated it’s really quick to cook.
Ready in 1 hr 10 mins (20 mins press, 30 mins marinade, 20 mins cook) – Serves 2
- Half a pack of firm tofu
- 2 heaped tablespoons of Chinese Five Spice
- The zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Half a tablespoon of soy sauce
- Half a tablespoon of sesame oil
- 100g of brown rice
- 100g of shredded carrot
- 100g of frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- Open the tofu and drain off the liquid.
- Place on a clean cloth or a few pieces of kitchen roll on the kitchen counter, put more kitchen roll or another clean cloth on top and press the rest of the moisture out of it by placing heavy pans or dishes on top.
- Press for about 20mins then slice.
- In a shallow dish, mix the Chinese Five Spice, lime zest and juice, the olive oil, half tablespoon of soy sauce and half tablespoon of sesame oil.
- Add the tofu, coat well, cover and marinade for about 30 mins.
- Meanwhile, rinse the rice and put it in a medium sized pan with lots of water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins with the lid on.
- Drain and set to one side
- Heat a large frying pan up to a medium heat on the hob and cook your marinated tofu for about 5mins on each side until they start to crisp at the edges. Pour all the the marinating sauce in the pan, you want to keep all those lovely flavours.
- Set the tofu to one side, but keep warm.
- Keep the frying pan on the heat and add the carrot and peas. They will soak up all the lovely sauce that’s left over from the tofu.
- Cook, stirring or tossing frequently for about 5 mins.
- Add the rice and the rest of the soy sauce and sesame sauce. If you prefer softer veg, cook for a bit longer.
- Cook for another 5mins then add the spring onions.
- Mix well and serve straight away, sitting the tofu on top.
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