There’s something so wonderful about the mixture of heat and freshness that ginger adds to food. This is a very simple, fresh bowl filled with rice, vegetables and tofu all topped with a bright Asian-inspired sauce.
To start I pressed my block of tofu. If you are nodding along, thinking “mhmm, mhmm,” then skip ahead. If you are wondering why I have decided to mention my alternative exercise strategy in the middle of a recipe, then read on.
There are two things you need to know about PRESSING TOFU.
1) “What is it?” Pressing tofu, is a way to get the extra liquid out of the tofu. To do it, you simply wrap your block of tofu in a kitchen towel, place it on a plate, and then put something heavy on top of it for 30-60 minutes. I use a heavy cutting board and put a couple of cans from the cupboard on top for good measure.
2) “Why do it?” Tofu is porous and it is stored in a container with water. (Side note- my cat, Moose, LOVES tofu water so I make sure to try to preserve some for her when I’m freeing my block of tofu.) In most recipes, that extra liquid is unwanted. It prevents the tofu from getting a nice, firm texture when cooked. Plus, when the package liquid is pressed out of the tofu it can better absorb the marinade that you do want.
After pressing the tofu, I cut it into blocks, poured my super quick and easy marinade over it, and returned it to the fridge for a couple of hours. Is this marinade my best marinade? Certainly not! Is it my easiest just-got-to-get-this-done marinade? Absolutely!
Then, I got to chopping vegetables. The overall, process is pretty basic–chop and cook. However, there is an extra step because I decided to use purple cabbage because it’s just so pretty:
You should know that purple cabbage “bleeds.” It is very important when using purple cabbage that you ALWAYS cook it separately from the other ingredients. If you don’t believe me, then just wait until after you steam it– the water it leaves behind will be a vivid shade of turquoise! And trust me, there is no faster way to turn someone off from eating vegetables than dying all of them a very nasty shade of “yuck“! On that note, if you want to reduce the amount of dishes to clean at the end of the day (and are not obsessed with color the way that I am), then just use green cabbage and throw it in at the same time you add broccoli to the wok.
After the tofu has had time to marinade arrange the small blocks on a parchment lined baking sheet. Parchment paper is the way to go when baking tofu. Tofu is delicate (if you are not used to cooking with tofu, then handle it the way you would handle egg whites from a hard-boiled egg) and parchment paper makes it easy to flip the tofu (and keep it whole) later.
Half way through the baking process the tofu needs to be flipped. I find that it is easiest to just use my fingers to flip the little pieces. They are usually cool enough to the touch, that when handled gingerly, fingers work great. However, if you would prefer to use a utensil I would go with rubber tongs. If you must use a spatula, then use the thinnest spatula you have.
Then there is the sauce. It is pretty simple- I try to use as few measuring devices as possible, because otherwise it just becomes a big hassle, right? However, if you are pressed for time then just use a bottle of simmer sauce from the market- it will still be a great meal!
Rainbow Veggies and Tofu Bowl
- 1 block of tofu, pressed (see above)
- 1/2 head of red cabbage, chopped
- 1 c. matchstick carrots, chopped
- 1 head of broccoli, chopped
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 jalepeno, chopped
- 6 oz frozen snap peas
- 3-7 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups jasmine rice For the marinade:
- 1/2 c. pineapple juice
- 1/2 c. liquid aminios (or low sodium soy sauce)
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. ginger powder For the sauce:
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 c. rice vinegar
- 1/2 c. pineapple juice
- 1/4 c. liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
- 1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 c. agave
- 2 tbsp. hoisen sauce
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
- 3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 a lime, juiced
- 1.5 tbsp. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 1.5 tbsp. water
1. Cut the tofu into 1/2″ blocks and place in a container with the marinade. Allow to sit for 1-6 hours in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. After allowing tofu to marinate, arrange pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30-40 minutes flipping half-way through.
3. Cook rice in rice cooker or according to package.
4. Steam the cabbage for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
5. Saute vegetables and garlic in a wok in this order (allowing about a minute between additions): carrots, broccoli, garlic, onion, peppers, snap peas. (Add water or vegetable broth 1 tbsp. at a time to prevent sticking)
6. Make the sauce by sauteing garlic and ginger in a small sauce pan over medium/low heat for one minute. Add all other ingredients (except for arrowroot and water). Mix arrowroot powder and water together in a small bowl. Once ingredients in the pot are hot stir in arrowroot mixture.
7. Arrange bowls with rice on the bottom, followed by cabbage, other veggies, sauce, and top with tofu.