After 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
2 cups (rice cooker measurement) short grained white rice
1/2 can lite coconut milk (or small regular coconut milk)
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water, reserved
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.
You will have leftover stir fry, so you can double the rice if you prefer.