RSS Feed

Tag Archives: cauliflower rice

Vegan Recipe – Spicy Eggplant Tofu

Eric and I recently tried a Thai restaurant that’s walking distance from our place.  I ordered a yellow curry with tofu entree the first time, which was your typical yummy curry.  The second time, though, I felt adventurous and ordered the Spicy Eggplant and Tofu dish.  I’m so glad I did because it was fantastic.  The crispy sides of the tofu cubes combined with the soft eggplant were perfect.  After ordering it a couple of times, I thought I might try my hand at making it.  I’ve already been successful in making the best Kung Pao ever, why not Spicy Eggplant Tofu?

Spicy Eggplant Tofu | A Vegan in Progress

I turned to my favorite recipe search engine, Pinterest, and found this blog post from Made Weekly.  I wouldn’t call it a recipe, it was more like a meal guideline.  I love the way she took the photo of the ingredients.  The photo and the simplicity of the meal over the other ones I found were what made me go with this particular one.

This was a complete hit.  Because I added a little extra cornstarch, the sauce was thicker and a little sticky.  It even looked sort of restaurant-quality.  It was super flavorful and filling and went perfectly with cauliflower rice.  Eric, my resident non-vegan loved it and looked really sad when I said there wasn’t much more.  When planning our dinners for next week, I asked if he would like it again and got an enthusiastic affirmative.

Below is my adapted version of the Made Weekly Eggplant Tofu Stir Fry.  There weren’t any measurements, and I threw it together without really measuring, so these are mostly estimates.  I was out of miso, basil, and ginger, so I went without and it was still great.  This made enough for two large servings, with a little bit left over.  Next time I would likely double it for more delicious, delicious leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of firm tofu, pressed and cubed (My mom recommended popping it in the freezer for half an hour to an hour before slicing it and it really does hold its shape in the pan better that way.)
  • 1 eggplant, cubed (I had never cooked with eggplant before and didn’t know how to approach it.  I don’t know what I was worrying about, because I just cut the ends off, cut it in half, and cubed the rest with no problem.)
  • Approximately 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Approximately 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (Use only 1 Tablespoon if you want a thinner sauce.)
  • Approximately 1/3 cup sesame oil (This is totally optional and not mentioned in the Made Weekly post.  I just didn’t have any miso, which I knew was a major flavor contributor for this dish, so I used some sesame oil, but didn’t want to overpower the meal, so I also used grapeseed oil.)
  • Approximately 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or any basic cooking oil)
  • Approximately 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • Approximately 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • Some red pepper flakes if you like it spicy
  • Miso to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • Basil to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • Ginger to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • About 1/2 a head of cauliflower for cauliflower rice

Directions:

  • First, soak the eggplant in salt water for about an hour to reduce bitterness (a trick from my sister, Alli.
  • Drain, press, freeze, and cube tofu (see above for why I recommend freezing it for a bit).  Heat cooking oil with a little sesame oil for flavor.  Add tofu cubes to the oil and drizzle liquid smoke lightly over all of the tofu cubes.  This is my tofu trick.  It smells amazing and makes the tofu a really interesting addition to the meal, rather than a bland hunk of protein.  Stir it continuously so it doesn’t burn until the tofu is brown and crispy, then set aside.
  • Whisk together garlic, miso (if you’re using it), soy sauce or tamari, vinegar, a splash of water, and cornstarch.
  • Fry eggplant, ginger (if you’re using it), and garlic in oil (I used the same oil from cooking the tofu) until it begins to soften.  Add soy/tamari sauce mixture and stir until sauce thickens and eggplant is fully cooked (it will look yellowy-brown rather than white).
  • While the eggplant is cooking, chop your 1/2 head of cauliflower into floret-sized chunks so that the food processor will be able to handle it.  Pulse the food processor until the cauliflower bits are about rice or bulgar-sized.  Place cauliflower into a microwave safe container with a lid.  DO NOT ADD WATER.  Pop one corner of the container so that steam can escape.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes or until it’s all warm enough to eat.
  • Add tofu and toss it all together.  Mix in red pepper flakes (or allow each diner to add it at their discretion, as we have to do it in my house) and basil.
  • Eat your seriously delicious meal!

Vegan Recipe – Tofu Vindaloo with Cauliflower Rice

This recipe came together out of fate.  I happened to have most of the necessary ingredients on hand and stumbled upon Archer Farms Vindaloo sauce at Target that looked good.  I love Indian food and had been looking for a reason to try cauliflower rice that didn’t scare me.  Cauliflower just smells so – cauliflowery – that I’ve been reluctant to try it with anything other than a fragrant sauce that smothers it.  I also had some tofu on hand and have never tried to prepare if any way other than as a filling, like in my Stuffed Shells Recipe.

This was very simple to make, but very hot!  Eric couldn’t take a full serving.  It was my fault for buying Hot Vindaloo sauce, but I’m pretty sure the jar I originally picked up said Medium and, somehow, after looking at the ingredients in the Vindaloo as well as the ingredients in Tikka Masala sauce, I accidentally bought the jar of Hot.  I’m thinking that I will pick up a jar of Medium or Mild next time I’m at Target and I will look for a good slow cooker vindaloo recipe so that I can cook everything but the tofu all day and pan-fry and add the tofu before serving.

Tofu Vindaloo | A Vegan in Progress

HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER RICE (adapted slightly from this link):This is so freaking simple, it made me wonder why I never made it before.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1.  Cut cauliflower head into florets… I used about a third of a head of cauliflower.

2.  Pulse fresh cauliflower in food processor until it is all about the size of bulgar (or rice).  You could also shred it with a cheese grater (but I’m not sure a lot of vegans would have that in their kitchens).

3.  Microwave in a covered dish (I cracked the lid on the dish slightly to let the steam out and microwaved it for about 2 minutes).  DO NOT ADD WATER.

HOW TO MAKE THE VINDALOO:

Tofu Vindaloo | A Vegan in Progress

     Ingredients
–  One can of chickpeas
–  One bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
–  One can of chopped tomatoes
–  One container of tofu
–  A few tablespoons of Liquid Smoke
–  A couple of tablespoons of Tamari sauce

Directions

1.  First, cut the tofu into the strips.

2.  Ahead of time, maybe in the morning (or at least an hour ahead) press the tofu.  You can use any technique you like, but I placed a towel on a plate, then paper towels on top of that, sandwiched the tofu between more paper towels, then another plate, and stacked cans of beans on top.

Pan-Fried Tofu | A Vegan in Progress 3.  After pressing the tofu, I marinated it.  I didn’t want a marinade that would compete with the Vindaloo, so I used Liquid Smoke and a little bit of Tamari sauce (like a soy sauce, without the salty flavor).  I let it marinate for about 30 minutes, but I’m sure it would only improve if it sat longer.

4.  Next, I tried a great tip that I found at delish.com, I tossed the marinated tofu strips with about 1/2 a cup of cornstarch before pan frying it.  It helps create a crispy outer coating.  Pan fry the tofu until all the sides turn a golden brown.

5.  Cook the tomatoes, chickpeas, and bell pepper for a little bit in a large skillet (maybe 5 minutes).

6.  Add the Vindaloo sauce and simmer for a few more minutes until the bell peppers soften a bit.

7.  Add tofu, mix all ingredients, and serve over cauliflower rice.

I originally made the mistake of adding the tofu too soon, so it looked and smelled amazing when it went into the skillet, but was a lot softer when served.  It still tasted amazing, but next time I will follow the directions I posted above.

I served it with green beans and Trader Joe’s Tandoori Garlic Naan Bread.

Go ahead and give it a try if you come across the Archer Farms Vindaloo sauce at Target or something like it.