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Spicy Stir-Fried Tofu With Coconut Rice From 'The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone'

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[Photograph: Kate Williams]

I have many friends who are vegetarian and vegan, and tofu (as well as its related soy products) plays a big part in their diet. I myself eat cubes of the stuff a few times a month, and have grown from having a begrudging acceptance of it to a true appreciation of its subtle flavor. I most often sear cubes of extra-firm in vegetable oil before adding it to stir-fries; though efficient, it's not always the most exciting preparation.

In The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison adds far more flair to her tofu dishes. This particular stir-fry employs a sweet and hot blend of spices to add interest to the seared tofu, as well as a rich and brilliantly yellow pot of coconut rice on which to serve it. A generous squeeze of lime juice is crucial, adding zippy brightness and moisture to each bite.

Why I picked this recipe: I needed to re-boot my tofu repertoire.

What worked: The spiced tofu was great, but the big winner here is the coconut rice. Don't skip it.

What didn't: You'll want to stir-fry the tofu on a lower heat than you'd usually use for a stir-fry to prevent the sugar from burning. Shoot for somewhere between medium and medium-high.

Suggested tweaks: Sliced yellow onions work in place of scallions if that's what you've got at home. If your family is full of big tofu-eaters, you'll want to double what the recipe calls for. Cook it in two batches to avoid crowding the skillet or wok.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, SFoodie, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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