Meet “Stirmaker” Sylvia + Crispy Tofu End-of-the Summer Vegetable Rice Bowl

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“I’m a home-grown New Yorker (Brooklyn!) who tries to balance life in the crazy city by making time to play in the dirt, in between trying out new restaurants and jaywalking. Great food is an important part of my life and I’m often inspired to cook from ingredients that catch my eye at my local farmer’s market, or dishes I’ve had during my travels. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I strive to show people that healthy nourishing meals can be fun, accessible to all, and of course, delicious!”

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When I find myself staring into the fridge wondering what to make for dinner, I often turn to tofu, a versatile staple that I almost always keep around. Not only is it packed with protein and calcium, it’s also easy to prepare and super filling. While it doesn’t have much flavor on its own, tofu is like a blank canvas – it takes on the flavors of whatever it’s cooked with. This crispy tofu and summer vegetable rice bowl is perfect for those “not sure what to make” days. Here, I take advantage of the end-of-summer bounty I found at market, but you can also feel free to incorporate whatever veggies you happen to have with and use the tofu as a building block for your meal. The bold flavors in the tofu and veggie mix pair really well with this creamy, mildly sweet coconut infused rice made with the Roasted Garlic Jasmine Rice. This coconut rice also reheats well due to the richness from the coconut milk.

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Crispy Tofu End-of-the Summer Vegetable Rice Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Della® Jasmine Rice with Roasted Garlic, rinsed and drained
  • 8 oz coconut milk
  • 8 oz water
  • 1 large zucchini – cut into ½ inch thick pieces
  • 1 large bell pepper – sliced into strips
  • ¼ of a medium sized red onion
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon rice vinegar (can substitute red wine vinegar, or white vinegar – not pictured)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 sprig cilantro – roughly chopped
  • Sesame seeds, optional, for garnish

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  • 1- package of extra firm tofu (organic if possible), sliced into cubes about ¾ inch thick
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of chili paste/sauce (adjust to your level of spice tolerance)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Mix the coconut milk and water together in a pot. Add Della rice and cook as directed for 20 minutes (Do not add any additional water, as the coconut milk serves as a liquid replacement).
  2. While the rice is cooking, prepare the tofu:
  3. Arrange tofu in a single layer on a plate lined with a paper towel or clean dishcloth. Cover with additional paper towels and press down firmly to get rid of the excess liquid. This can be done up to a day ahead. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  4. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Cook the tofu in a single layer over medium-high heat until browned and lightly crisp, turning once, for about 5-8 minutes total. Mix in the chili paste and stir gently until coated. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. Wipe out the skillet and return to medium-high heat. Heat the oil. Add the onions and pepper slices, and stir-fry for about two minutes. Add the zucchini and continue stir-frying for 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp tender. Be careful not to let the vegetables overcook.
  6. Add in the reserved tofu and toss until well mixed.
  7. Serve over a generous scoop of the coconut rice. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds, if desired.

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Notes:

Chili paste is usually found in the Asian section of your grocery store. Two of my favorites are Trader Joe’s “Sambal Matah” and Lee Kum Kee’s Chili Garlic Sauce. If you can’t find chili paste/sauce, Sriracha may be substituted – but be careful, as it is usually a lot spicier! A little goes a long way.

The crispy tofu can be made ahead of time – Making an extra batch is a great way to do meal prep for the week. It can be used in other stir-fries or even as a burrito or taco filling. I recommend cooking each package of tofu separately, since overcrowding the skillet will prevent the tofu from getting nice and browned.

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