Gluten-Free Chinese Recipes: Szechuan Tofu Fried Rice Recipe

March 13th, 2009 yum Posted in Chinese, Eggs, Rice, Soy, Vegetarian, tofu 3 Comments »

Rice is one of the easiest and most versatile staples of the gluten-free diet, and the nice thing is that it is as valuable as leftovers as it is fresh out of the rice cooker. It can be frozen and saved for a later meal, combined with a gluten-free vegetarian meal pouch like Tasty Bite. Or, if left in the fridge for a day or so, it is wonderful sauteed up in a delicious vegetarian fried rice. I’ve posted fried rice several times at the Book of Yum, and have made all of the recipes multiple times. The great thing about fried rice is that small changes can have a big impact on the recipe. So, with that in mind, I recently whipped up a fried rice featuring vegetables easily available in Winter AND a great protein powerhouse, tofu. Don’t let the length of the directions scare you- the technique is the same for each layer of the dish, but preparing the components separately makes a big difference in the final recipe. Enjoy!

Szechuan Tofu Vegetarian Fried Rice Recipe
Seasoning and oils:
1 or 2 tsp. szechuan peppercorns, ground to medium grind in spice grinder or mortar and pestle
1/2 tsp. salt
canola oil, dash of sesame oil
2 tsp. diced ginger
2 tsp. grated ginger (or more)

1 tbsp. Wheat-free low sodium tamari
1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. brown rice vinegar
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger juice

1 package firm Nasoya cubed tofu, drained

1/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup or more green beans, chopped
2 nanette carrots, or 1 regular carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 cup green peas
3 green onion bottoms, thinly sliced
1/2 sweet red or yellow pepper, diced

1 1/2 tbsp. low sodium wheat-free tamari (San-J or similar)
1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. (real) maple syrup
1 tbsp. brown rice vinegar

Egg Portion:
2 eggs, whisked
3 green onion tops, thinly sliced

3 cups cold (white) rice, leftover from the day before if possible
Sesame seeds (optional)

Combine marinade ingredients and whisk together. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Cover drained tofu in marinade sauce and reserve while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. I like to prepare all my veggies and place them on a big plate, separated into type, so they are easy to add to the wok. Get all your spices and seasonings ready and measured. Combine sauce ingredients in a small prep bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste.

To make fried rice:
1.First, prepare the tofu.
Heat a tablespoon or so canola oil in your wok. When it begins to smoke add a pinch of salt and coarse ground szechuan pepper. Add a teaspoon of your diced ginger and as it begins to brown, throw in your marinated tofu, reserving the marinade liquid for later. Brown tofu on both sides and then add the marinade liquid after it is is nicely browned. Let tofu simmer in marinade and absorb the marinade. Then take off heat and return your tofu to your marinade dish, reserving.

2. Second, prepare your veggies. Heat two teaspoons or so canola oil in your wok. When it begins to smoke add a pinch of salt and coarse ground szechuan pepper. Add a teaspoon of your diced ginger and as it begins to brown, add your onions and grated ginger. Let it start to cook and then add carrots and green beans. Stir a little until they start to soften. Throw in your green peas (preferably defrosted, but I won’t tell if they are straight from the freezer.) Add all but a few teaspoons of your sauce to the center of the wok along with your diced sweet pepper and combine, letting simmer. When veggies seem done (slightly al dente is good), remove veggies (and sauce) from wok and reserve (with sauce) on your veggie prep dish.

3. Make the eggs.
Combine eggs and green onion tops in a bowl. Heat a little oil in your wok, season with a pinch of salt and szechuan pepper and throw in your whisked eggs and green onions. As it starts to cook, immediately add in your cold rice, with each grain as separate as possible, and stir so eggs are mixed in evenly with the rice. If it is too dry, you can add a teaspoon or two of sesame oil to the middle of the pan and mix in. Let egg cook for a minute or two and then add prepared tofu. You can just use half of the tofu if you like, and use the rest of the tofu in another recipe. After another minute or so, you can add the prepared veggies WITH sauce. Fold into rice until evenly distributed, and then add any remaining sauce. When flavors are distributed and warm throughout, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Enjoy!

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Gluten-free Korean Vegetarian Kitchen: Dolsot Bibimbap or Ishiyaki Bibinba Recipe

January 13th, 2009 yum Posted in Korea, Rice, Soy Free, Vegetarian, leftovers 7 Comments »

In an earlier post, I talked about my love for a Korean recipe called Bibimbap, and how I first discovered it in Japan as Bibinba. Our friend Wikipedia describes it like this:

“Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish. The word literally means “stirred/mixed rice” or “stirred/mixed meal.” (It is also sometimes spelled “bibimba,” “bibimbab,”b-bop” or “bibimbop”).”

In my quest to make a fusion vegetarian bibinba recipe, last year I came up with a delicious recipe for vegetarian tempeh bulgogi that the DH and I enjoyed in a cold bibimbap rice salad.

However, my real passion for bibinba came about through my experience with what is called ishiyaki Bibinba in Japanese, or stone pot cooked Bibimbap. In Korean it is called Dolsot Bibimbap, or stone pot bibimbap. In this recipe you heat a stone pot with rice and other tasty toppings until the rice becomes crispy on the bottom and the pot is hot enough to cook an egg. The egg becomes mixed with the rice and cooked almost like a fried rice after you take it off the burner. I initially discovered ishiyaki bibinba in Japanese fast food courts, where you can order bibinba with such diverse toppings as “tuna mayo” or “pork” or, my personal favorite “cheese.” Later I learned that the spicy dark red topping added contains some amount of wheat, and the vegetable toppings may have small amounts of soy sauce, so I had to stop ordering it out, but I had become a woman obsessed. When we moved back to America, I brought two stone pots back with me and have since tried to replicate the experience several times. Adding cheese might be a fusion move, but hey, I think it adds a lot to the experience and texture of the dish, and if it is good enough for Japanese bibinba shops, it’s good enough for me.

This is one of those dishes that makes me happy to be alive. I am a sucker for hot food with lots of flavor, diverse veggies, and crispiness- and ishiyaki bibinba fits the bill perfectly. The recipe below is the closest I’ve gotten to the yumminess of take-out bibbinba, and I’d say if I could just approximate the Korean chili sauce Goshujang, it would be exactly right. Srirachi sauce with liberal amounts of kimchi, heated in the dish and then added at the end, does a good job of taking its place, though- and for me, the nori adds the perfect amount of depth and salty “fishy” flavor that completes the dish. I also found that extra sesame oil added to the rice as I mixed it really made the flavor pop. If you aren’t soy intolerant, a few drops of wheat-free tamari might be nice as well. The DH pronounced the meal a success, and at last, I was satisfied. Oh my love Bibinba, at last I can have you at home! And, since I used leftover veggies from my recent Korean Noodle Recipe, it wasn’t even that much work to make it.

Bibimbap Vocab:
namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables)
namurus (side dishes)
gochujang (chili pepper paste)

Want to read More?
Check out this List of Korean Rice-based Dishes with description
A Bibimbap Recipe by Fat Free Vegan
A Rice Cooker Pescatarian Bibimbap Recipe (Sorry not veg but I was intrigued by the rice cooker aspect)
Good Pics of the bibimbap cooking setup, non veg recipe

Korean Vegetarian Dolsot Bibimbap Ishiyaki Bibinba Recipe
Short grained (sushi style) white rice cooked in a rice cooker [3 rice cooker cups uncooked will leave you with extra]
Japanese or Korean toasted sesame oil and basting brush
Vegetable toppings, see below
srirachi sauce (if you can find Korean gochuchang that is gluten-free, please let me know because i’d love to find some)
2 raw eggs
Grated Cheese, optional for Cheese bibinba/bibimbap, to taste
nori, either in sheets or pre-cut into strips
Extra kimchi for those that like it

Various Vegetable Toppings:
1 pkg. Spinach
peanut or other oil

1 Carrot, 1/3 burdock root or 2 carrots
peanut oil
1 or 2 tbsp. mirin

2 large fresh portabella mushrooms, or equivalent shitake, oyster, or crimini mushrooms, sliced
peanut or other oil, salt, pepper

1 lb bean sprouts
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tsp sesame oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt

Gluten Free Kimchi (most should be gluten-free, esp. if it doesn’t have MSG, but it may be harder to find a vegetarian kimchi. Look at yuppie grocery stores in refrigerator case or health food stores, or possibly at Asian markets, although authentic Korean markets may not carry vegetarian American kimchi)

Necessary Equipment:
Stone pots- you can find them at Korean markets or online- should be pre-seasoned like a cast iron pan, search online for instructions
Lids for covering your stone pots
Flame burner or, if you have a flattop electric stove a flame tamer
Safe place for HOT stone pots like wooden cutting boards (not decorative) or cooling rack on towel+ something to protect your table
(I used a cardboard cat scratcher under the towel, don’t laugh)

First, prepare veggies:
Sautee spinach in a little oil and season with a little salt.

Slice carrot and burdock into matchstick pieces or sliver using a mandoine. Then sautee in a little oil and season with salt. After a few minutes, add mirin and simmer for another few minutes.

Sautee your favorite mushroom slices in oil and season with salt and pepper.

Directions for bean sprouts:
Rinse and drain sprouts. Fill large pan with water and bring to a boil. Add your fresh sprouts to the water, and simmer them for up to five minutes. Put back in the strainer and rinse with cold water. Drain them and pat them dry in a towel. Combine sprouts with scallions, sesame oil, red pepper and salt in a bowl and reserve. Flavor will improve as it sits.

Prepare your rice in a rice cooker. Don’t forget to rinse the rice until the water runs clear before cooking. when it’s done, fluff the rice and reserve until all ingredients are ready.

Once everything is prepared, baste the stone pots with sesame oil and partially fill with rice. Remember, you will ultimately need space to stir the ingredients together, so not too full. Then push the rice partway or all the way up the sides of the stone pot. Grab portions of each of your vegetables, arranging them neatly in a circle.

Set raw egg and other seasonings near your cooling rack.

Turn flame burner to medium high and put your stone pot (or pots if you have more than one flame burner) on the flame. Cover and leave for 10-15 minute. You should start to smell crisping rice towards the end. I like my rice crunchy and the stone pot needs to be HoT to cook the egg. when you think the rice is done (probably longer than you think), carefully cover your hands in protective gear (lots of towels, whatever) and remove pot from burner, moving to cooling rack.

Act fast! Take two large metal spoons and stir the rice, moving it away from the sides of the bowl and break your raw egg into the space you’ve made, mixing it up. Spread it along the hot side as best you can and it should start to cook. Mix into the rice, but keep the egg on the hot sides as best you can. Keep mixing that bad boy up. Baste rice with sesame oil if you like, for additional flavor. Sprinkle with srirachi sauce or other thick GF hot sauce and add your cheese, stirring in so it melts. Top with nori strips and extra kimchi if you like and serve!

*If you have two burners and both are ready at the same time, have your dining partner doctor his up at the same time you are. You don’t want the stone pot to cool before you add the egg, because it needs to cook. If you are worried about the egg not cooking thoroughly, use pasteurized eggs or omit. Add additional kimchi, cheese, sesame oil, hot sauce and nori as you like and if you find any part of it plain.*

I found this recipe for gochuchang paste online, and i’m wondering if it might turn out well using srirachi instead of the original paste and/ or doubanjiang, Sichuan broad bean paste. Srirachi sauce is gluten free, and I have occasionally found doubanjiang that seemed to be gluten-free. If anyone finds gluten-free gochuchang please let me know the brand!!!

Substitute Gochuchang Paste (seasoned red pepper paste):
4 tablespoons srirachi sauce or doubanjiang
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.

*paste recipe is the only untested part of this recipe- it’s more a future note in case I want to try it later*

YOU WILL HAVE LEFTOVER VEGGIES, especially of the bean sprouts and mushrooms! You can make bibinba another day, make my Korean noodle recipe OR enjoy them on rice in a casual, non stone pot bibinba recipe. Feel free to make less topping quantity as needed.

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