Friday, August 19, 2011

Spicy Tofu with Brown Rice and Beans

I have to admit that, up until recently, I've always felt a bit squeamish towards tofu. I'm not sure what it was that made me so standoffish. Maybe the texture or the lack of flavor, but whatever it was, I am completely cured of my tofu phobia. Because tofu has a very mild, if not, absent flavor, it allows for you to create the flavor, but the caveat is, you MUST create the flavor. There's no way around it, unless you're an eccentric who likes it raw. I'm not so sure if Iwill ever be cured of that phobia.

This dish is delightfully light but hearty - perfect for a summer dinner. Lightly browned tofu smothered in a tomato based sauce that is pricked with the heat of Thai red chilies. Served with a side of simple brown rice and red kidney beans, this meal is deeelish and cheap. What more could you ask for?

1 pound extra firm tofu (extra firm tofu requires no pressing or drying to remove water)
olive oil
green onion
sesame seeds
2 cup brown rice
1 can red kidney beans

Sauce ingredients (enough for 2 pounds of tofu)
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 dried Thai red chilies
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
black pepper

Cook brown rice on the stove top or in a rice maker. While the rice is cooking, heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. When the pan is hot, add diced tofu cubes tothe skillet. Sear all four sides of the tofu cubes until golden brown. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. When tofu is browned, place on a plate lined with a paper towel as this will soak up excess oil from the tofu.

For the sauce, pour the tomato paste and sauce into a food processor as well as the whole chilies and other spices. Mix everything together in the processor until completely smooth. Put the sauce in a heated saute pan and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the tofu cubes to the sauce. Add the red kidney beans to the cooked brown rice. When serving, garnish the spicy tofu with chopped green onion and sesame seeds.

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