Friday, July 27, 2012

Recipe Swap - Chili Lime Tofu with Rice and Spinach

I have a food confession. Until I made this recipe I had never cooked tofu. I'd eaten it a handful of times, mainly when my vegetarian aunt visits and we get Chinese food to share. I was missing out.

I've mentioned several times that I'm trying to cook healthier meals, but lately we've been tossing around the idea of going mostly vegetarian. We won't cut out all meat, but we've decided to make a concerted effort to eat meat less often, maybe twice a week. This goes for everything from red meat to chicken.

Enter the humble tofu. All I really know about tofu is that it tastes like whatever you cook it in. I've had my eye on this Chili Lime Tofu with Rice and Spinach for awhile now, so when it was submitted for the last recipe swap I knew I had to make it. As luck would have it, I was given Stefanie's blog for this swap and the stars aligned. Stefanie really enjoyed the dish and Heather, the blogger that gave the recipe to Stefanie, loves it so much so that she puts it on her weekly menu every other week. That's a serious recommendation, so I figured what better recipe to try for my first tofu experience.

We loved this. Absolutely loved it. SP said if this is the kind of stuff he needs to be eating to stay healthy it wouldn't be as hard as he thought. The flavors from the sauce were outstanding. I doubled the sauce and I'm glad I did. There wouldn't have been nearly enough otherwise. The crispy tofu was delicious, although we decided I needed to cut the slices thicker. The thinner pieces were too chewy while the thicker ones were just right.

I also had a minor mishap with the tofu due to my own ignorance of how to prepare it. I started slicing the tofu, marveling at the amount of water that was coming out of the brick and wondering how it was going to get crispy in the skillet. Then I reread the directions and realized I needed to press and drain it. A quick Google search led me to instructions. I've added the steps to the ingredient list below for other tofu novices.

Chili Lime Tofu with Rice and Spinach
As seen on Kickin It in the Kitch, originally from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

1 cup jasmine, basmati or white rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 limes
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons garlic chili pepper sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 package extra-firm tofu
2 cups fresh spinach
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

In a medium sized saucepan combine the rice, water, salt, zest of 1 lime, and nutmeg. Cook according to the package directions.

In a small bowl combine the sugar, soy sauce, garlic chili pepper sauce, garlic cloves, and juice of both limes. Mix well and set aside.

Unwrap the tofu. Place on a plate lined with 4 paper towels. Cover with 4 more paper towels and weigh down with a plate or skillet topped with heavy cans. Allow to press and drain for 30 minutes - 1 hour. Once drained, slice the tofu into 4 slices lengthwise. Cut each rectangle in half then each square into two triangles. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and cook the tofu for 10 minutes on each side or until it is golden brown.

Lower the heat and pour the chili lime sauce over top of the tofu. The sauce will bubble up, reduce, and form a glaze. Watch carefully so the glaze doesn't become too thick. Remove from heat once the sauce is at your desired consistency.

In a medium pan sauté the spinach, sesame oil, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until the spinach is wilted but still green. Serve the rice topped with spinach with the tofu on top.
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  1. I'm so glad you liked your first tofu experience! I love this recipe and have made it again since the first time. It's definitely one that will stay in my rotation. And, it's great that your husband tried it too because my husband refuses to touch it!

  2. It looks great! SO glad you liked this tofu-we love it!

  3. I eat tofu at least every other week and definitely need to try this one! Looks great.

  4. Yummy! I doubt I would be able to get my husband to eat tofu (he calls them "Estrogen Cakes" and has an irrational fear that it will make him grow boobs) but I'd love to try this sometime! I'm glad that the stars aligned for you and great Blogger's Choice pick :).

  5. It looks great! I also have no experience cooking or eating tofu. Sounds easy enough - can't wait to try it sometime!

  6. I'm so glad your first experience with tofu was a good one! I went vegetarian 1 1/2 years ago and haven't looked back. There really is a lot of fun vegetarian out there to eat!

  7. This sounds awesome, I just pinned it! Looks really flavorful!

  8. This tofu looks awesome! I just pinned it. Looks really flavorful!


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