Tag Archives: tofu

Sweet and Sour Tofu

After sitting in my recipe box on TastyKitchen for a few weeks, this gem of a recipe from this lovely blogger got its turn. Have I mentioned that I have over 180 recipes in there? And that I feel firmly committed to making them all? If I make one per week, it should only take me about 3 and a half years–totally doable, eh?

Anyway, I’m so glad I bumped this to the top of my priority list, because what a phenomenal dish! The simplicity of the stirfry, the perfect balance of sweet and sour in the sauce, the golden brown tofu–I can’t rave enough about it. It’s got some kick–not over the top, but I hope you like things a little spicy! Because if not, you are henceforth banned from this blog forevermore and are no friend of mine.

Wait! Wait! I’m totally kidding! Please don’t go! It’s just my sometimes-abrasive humor–you’re not supposed to take me that seriously! Here, I’ll tell you what–I promise to post some non-spicy recipes asap, just for you. Like Lemon Crinkle Cookies. Okay? Okay?

Okay. I love everyone, The End. Phew. Nothing like tearing up relationships and then making amends to give you an appetite, eh?

And yes, this little conflict was staged just to make everyone hungry and thus more likely to make this stir fry. The lengths to which I go to spread the deliciousness . . . ah, the lengths to which I go. The world may never know.

But enough falderal–back to the recipe we go: I made it with tofu, but if you have an aversion to the block of soy stuff you could easily substitute chicken, pork, beef. Any protein would be great. And the sauce is so good that I’m salivating just thinking about it.


(Serves 3)

For the sauce:

1/4 red bell pepper, minced

3/4 cup pineapple juice

3 TBS rice vinegar

1/4 tsp sesame oil

2 TBS soy sauce

2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp water, mixed

1 TBS sugar

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

For the stir fry

1 TBS peanut oil

1-16 oz package extra firm tofu

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 cloves garlic

3/4 red pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 green onions, diced

Mince 1/4 of the bell pepper, and assemble all the ingredients for the sauce.

Everyone say ‘cheese!’

Now we’re simply going to add all the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan. The vinegar and pepper . . .

. . . the soy sauce and sugar . . .

. . . the white pepper (this is where the kick lieth; and the kick, it lieth herein) . . .

. . . the water and cornstarch slurry . . .

. . . the pineapple juice . . .

. . . etcetera, etcetera.

Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

The sauce will reduce by half, to about 1/2 cup. Taste and adjust the sugar to your liking–I added an extra teaspoon.

In the meantime, assemble the ingredients for the stiry fry.

Cut the block of tofu into two ‘sheets’ (with the blade of the knife parallel to the cutting board), then into strips lengthwise.

Place the strips between some paper towels and kitchen towels . . .

. . . and put a heavy book on top.

You can probably learn a couple things about formatting your scholarly papers while you’re at it.

Let it sit for about 15 minutes–this will help dry out the tofu, which in turn will help it brown better when fried.

Remove the tofu from the towels and cut it into cubes.

Now for some knife work: chop up the bell pepper and onion, and set them aside; mince the garlic and set it aside; dice the green onions, and set them aside as well. You should have three little bowls of happiness at the end of this chopping fest:

Heat the peanut oil over high heat in a wok or large cast iron skillet. When hot, add the tofu cubes and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Season them generously with salt and pepper while they’re frying.

Add the garlic and fry for about 1 minute, stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the red pepper and onion, sprinkle with more salt and pepper, and fry for about 6 minutes until the vegetables are starting to get tender, stirring frequently.

Pour the sauce into the stir fry . . .

. . . and toss the tofu and veggies so that everything is coated.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, letting the sauce thicken.

Stir in the green onions right before serving.

This is about to make me one very happy woman.

Serve over steaming hot white rice.

Oh yum.

May I have more please, sir?

If you think you don’t like tofu, this could very well be the dish that changes your mind.

It’s that good.

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Israeli Couscous with Spiced Sweet Onions

If I were a good blogger, I would be sharing an amazing recipe with you all for pumpkin pie. Or pecan pie. Or brined turkey. I mean, it’s Thanksgiving week! However, I’ve never claimed to be a ‘good blogger.’ In fact, I only recently became comfortable with even using the word ‘blogger’ in reference to myself.

It’s been rough, folks. And exciting. And weird. And wonderful. There may be no going back.

Anyway, I came across this recipe for Israeli Couscous on The Novice Chef Blog, and let me tell you–it was love at first sight. She calls it ‘Warm Couscous Salad,’ but for some reason I can’t bring myself to think of it as a salad. Thus, I renamed it, made a few modifications, served it hot, and I bring it to you today.

It is delightful. Delicious. Delectable. Devilish.

Except not devilish at all, because it’s very healthy–Wikipedia tells me that couscous is “among the healthiest grain-based products,” beating out pasta hands down.

Devilish? Healthy? I love making a statement and immediately contradicting it. It keeps everyone on their toes.

I love this as a side dish, and served it with salmon. I also love this as a main dish, topped with a couple hard boiled eggs or some fried tofu. And if you’re of the meat-needing persuasion (Dave, I’m talking to you), toss in some cubed leftover Thanksgiving turkey or ham. Hah! I totally just redeemed myself by working in the holiday at hand.

Whether main dish or side dish, I would pretty much love this concoction under any circumstance, whatever its name, and however ugly its past was. I’m an all embracing person, and I embrace this couscous dish.


(Serves 6)

2 cups Israeli couscous

2 TBS olive oil

3 large sweet onions

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

cilantro, to garnish

First, slice up your onions.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high, and when hot, add the onions and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the onions are starting to get translucent.

In the meantime, get some salted water boiling in preparation for the couscous.

Once it boils, add the couscous and cook for about 7 minutes.

You want the couscous to feel like al dente pasta in your mouth–as soon as that happens, drain it and rinse with some cool water.

Back to the onions!

Once the onions are translucent, add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and a few more pinches of salt. I apologize for the disturbing picture. If you scroll down quickly you won’t have to look at it long.

Thankfully, no one ever said that pretty = delicious. This butt ugly sauce will soon make your taste buds sing a small anthem, and you’ll forget all about its brown gloopiness.

Stir it around and continue to cook on low heat for another 10 minutes.

See? No more brown ugly sauce. It’s magically transformed itself, and is now golden and gorgeous.

Don’t forget to add generous amounts of black pepper!

While the onions are making your house smell like a spiced paradise, quarter or halve the cherry tomatoes.

After the onions have cooked for those 10 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes or until the tomatoes are heated through, but still retaining their shape.

Then ask your Nikon D5000, “why do you freak out when intense reds are in the picture? Do you really have to wig out like you do? Can’t you just balance the dang colors for me? I don’t have time for this!” Then the Nikon reminds you of all the amazing pictures not involving reds it has allowed you to take, and you make up with tears, hugs, and promises to never fight again.

I love my camera, and I can’t let our relationship stay on the rocks for more than two minutes at a time.

Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

It may seem like a lot of onions for not a lot of couscous–but don’t worry. When it comes together and you take that first bite, it will all make sense.

Combine the couscous with the onion/tomato mixture, and top it all with some cilantro.


I resurrected this clear bowl that I had originally bought to float some candles in.

Then I didn’t touch it for 4 years, and it languished beneath my popcorn bowl, ignored and weepy.

I think this bowl has now found its purpose in life.

Let’s have a bite, shall we?

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