Gluten Free Vegetarian: Delicious Peanut Tofu Recipe with Coconut Rice Recipe

peanutc2.jpgAfter all the squash I’d been eating, I suddenly started craving tofu like nobody’s business. But not just any tofu would do. No, somehow I wanted tofu in peanut sauce. The inspiration actually came from a coconut rice recipe I’d invented for Thanksgiving. My dairy-free, soy-free Mom had mentioned a childhood favorite recipe based on a little bit of rice, maraschino cherries, and pineapple. Usually people add whipped cream or some other dairy based ingredient, but she wanted to try making some without any dairy. I thought about adding rice milk, but didn’t think it would add much flavor- and then it occurred to me to substitute a healthy swig of coconut milk for some of the water in the rice cooker. After all, coconut milk should go well with tropical fruits, and it is way more decadent and flavorful than demure rice milk. So, I added a small (not light!) can of coconut milk to the rice. Mom used a little of the rice for her salad, and I decided to try some of the leftover coconut enriched rice with my acorn squash. It was delicious drizzled with vegetarian gravy or even topped with some cranberry sauce- and I couldn’t help but think it would be even better with a savory peanut sauce Asian-fusion dish. I thumbed through one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, the simply named and brilliantly themed “Peanut Butter Planet” and picked one of the recipe for “Szechuan stir fry with Fiery Peanut Sauce.” The only trouble was, we didn’t have any of the vegetables they used, so I had to improvise with the onions, portobello mushrooms, and carrots in our fridge. I also decided to kick up the tofu preparation methods a notch to add more texture to the dish. To my delight, these ingredients resulted in a rich, savory peanut dish that would do a Thai yellow curry proud. Indulge your taste for savory peanut sauce, meaty portobello strips and satisfying tofu with this dish… and while you’re at it, why not try this subtle rice variation. Take a plain spoonful of this heavenly coconut rice and close your eyes while you chew- it’s that good.

In the mood for coconut?
Try Coconut Carob Truffles
Karina’s Coconut Recipes
By the Bay’s Coconut Mashed Yams
Naomi’s Chocolate Mint Coconut Cream
Or my Ginger Coconut Peanut Sauce, perfect for grilled vegetables!

Share your favorite coconut or peanut recipes in the comments, or share your post URL’s…
I’ll add them to this yummy list!

Savory Tofu Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Recipe with Coconut Rice Recipe
Ingredients
Coconut Rice:
2 cups (rice cooker measurement) short grained white rice
1/2 can lite coconut milk (or small regular coconut milk)

Sauce:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/8 cup San-J low sodium wheat free tamari
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ketchup
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like the heat)

1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water, reserved

Stir Fry:
1/2 yellow onion, sliced into thick strips
1 portobello mushroom, including stem. Slice cap and dice stem.
1 1/2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks.
2-3 fresh garlic cloves, diced
1 pkg. firm organic tofu (a la Trader Joes), cut in half and pressed
2 more fresh garlic cloves
kosher salt
peanut oil (or your favorite oil)
sherry or other flavorful cooking wine

Directions
Rinse your rice until the water is no longer cloudy. Shake off the water and then put your rice in your rice cooker. Pour half of a can of coconut milk into the rice cooker and add water until the liquid reaches the two cup mark. (Or, just substitute coconut milk for half the water in your favorite rice recipe.)

Make your sauce by combining ingredients from water to red pepper flakes into a blender. Blend. Then heat on the stove in a saucepan until the sauce begins to boil. Lower heat and let simmer for five minutes, whisking occasionally. Add cornstarch slurry and let sauce thicken, take off heat and reserve.

I like two styles of tofu in my dishes for texture variety. (Optional- pick one style if you prefer.) Take one slab of tofu and slice it thinly into strips. Cut the remaining slab of tofu into cubes. Heat 1 cup or so of peanut (or canola, etc. oil with a high smoke point) over a high heat in your wok , toss in some kosher salt (if desired) and fry half of the tofu strips. Turn over when the tofu looks golden brown on one side. When fried golden on both sides, put on a rack so any extra oil can drip off. For your tofu cubes, clean your wok and pour a little (1 tbsp. or less) fresh peanut oil in the pan. Let it heat until almost at smoking point, add a whole garlic clove, let it brown and then remove from pan. Add a little salt to taste, and throw in your tofu cubes. Add your diced garlic and toss. When tofu cubes are browned on all sides (turn frequently), remove and reserve.

Add a tiny bit more oil, season it with the remaining garlic clove, remove the clove, and throw in your onion strips. You may need to do one half recipe at a time. When onion looks slightly softened, throw in your diced mushroom STEM. Toss frequently. When onion looks done and browned on the edges, remove and reserve. Throw in your portobello mushroom slices and saute. When they start to soften but the pan seems dry, throw in a little sherry (tablespoons, not cup measurements). Add your carrot matchsticks and stir fry for a minute or so. Throw in the rest of your reserved ingredients, mix, and then begin to drizzle your sauce on the stir fry, mixing sauce thoroughly into the dish.

Notes
You will have leftover stir fry, so you can double the rice if you prefer.

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10 Responses to “Gluten Free Vegetarian: Delicious Peanut Tofu Recipe with Coconut Rice Recipe”

  1. Do you get strange looks when you tell people you crave tofu? Because I certainly do!

    I swear you have a talent for making me crave food. I haven’t had tofu in a week and if it weren’t freezing outside I’d jump in the car now to go get some.

  2. I may have to try this tonight Sea! Michael is making stir fry, so I may have to try this because i still have that block of tofu waiting and ready to be used! and I just happen to have all the stuff! Sounds delicious!!

  3. Sea, Mary Frances… can you freeze extra firm tofu? Will it turn out right once it’s defrosted??

  4. Hi Mary Frances,
    I keep my tofu cravings a secret (except on this blog) to avoid the strange looks. haha. This really was yummy, I hope you get to try it!

    Hi Carrie- tell me how it turned out if you did make it! We enjoyed it a lot.

    Oh yes, and you can freeze tofu, although when defrosted it will have a slightly different texture. Some veggie chefs swear by frozen and defrosted tofu- I tend to prefer it fresh, but that could be just me. Packaged tofu usually lasts for FOREVER, but the stuff made fresh can have a short shelf life so might need to be frozen. Happy tofu-ing!

    -Sea

  5. Sea, I’ve just prepared the tofu the way you suggested (i only used chunk though because I didn’t read the directions! haha!) But I fried them in peanut oil and I’ve just finished preparing the sauce. I have to tell you even though I haven’t even finished making this meal yet, I LOVE the tofu prepared this way (maybe because I like the flavor of peanut oil!) But I think I’ve eaten half of the chunks waiting on the sauce! LOL! I hope I’ll have some chunks left for dinner! I don’t know why I thought I’d have leftovers! Now, Michael did not like it (it’ll take a while to work on this southern boy!) But man! I love these things! Are there other good ways to prepare tofu without having to fry it (and it still has a crispy texture??) BTW… I love the peanut sauce too! Wow! IT tastes like it could have come straight from a good Thai restaurant!! Boy do I feel international tonight! Thanks Sea!

  6. Oh, I have been wanting to trial a peanut sauce for a while. I just may have to bump it up on my to-cook list. I don’t have any ketchup on hand (I know, practically un-American), I wonder if just a touch more sugar or some tomato sauce would do?

  7. Hey Carrie,
    Great! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Peanut oil is one of my favorites, yum! I highly recommend my southern fried tofu or nutritional yeast Baked tofu for crispness without deep frying… But you can also try marinating and baking it for a long time… This will give it a more “chewy” texture. I’m so happy you liked the peanut sauce- the book I got it from really rocks the peanut as an ingredient.

    Hi Alisa- I was thinking about the ketchup myself, even before you posted- I think it makes the recipe more fusion than truly Thai, and I was trying to think of substitutes. I think a touch of tomato paste and sugar might just do the trick- Or, you could just leave it out. :) Let me know how it turns out. Also, I’ve got other peanut sauces in the recipe files… And the other one doesn’t have ketchup, so it might work for you.

    Enjoy!

    -Sea

    PS My next post will be from INDIA!!!

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  10. Your peanut tofu looks great. I make a dish like this at work. I reall like this version. You should submit it to my Veg Head carnival. Very nice.

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