Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Maple Sriracha Peanut Tofu Stir Fry

Sriracha seems to be the theme of the week at my house! Seriously, though, we can't get enough of its tangy, zippy taste. I woke up craving a peanut-y Asian flavour, so today I experimented with four of my favourite ingredients; if our cupboards are bare, there will still be maple syrup, peanut butter, Sriracha and tofu. For this dish I used two 350g packages of organic extra firm tofu.

My tofu preparation is always the same: I rinse it, press it and dry it with a paper towel, cube it and bake it on a lightly oiled cookie sheet for half an hour. Baking the tofu first gets it ready to really soak up the marinade. While the tofu was baking, I prepared the marinade. As you'll have already gathered if you're read a few posts, I'm not really big on measurements. I just add things as I go along and if something doesn't taste quite right, I'll just add a bit of something else until it balances out. However, this is roughly what I ended up using:

  • 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce (I had only dark soy sauce which is why the sauce looks a bit like a mole in the photo above)
  • 4 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2Tbsp Sriracha (Rooster Sauce)
  • 6 Tbsp Peanut Butter (I just used what I had on hand, which was Kraft smooth. Most chefs would likely call for all-natural peanut butter so as not to have salt and sugar interfere with the other flavours, but this turned out just awesome anyway.)
  • 4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 5 Tbsp hot water with two generous squirts of Bovril liquid chicken stock (normally I would use organic Better Than Bouillon but I was all out and the Bovril was on sale at Safeway today.) 

I whisked all of these ingredients together, then put the bowl in the microwave to warm it up just enough that the peanut butter started to melt. Then I took it out and whisked it vigorously for a few minutes until the marinade was creamy, but silky smooth. The tofu had baked for half an hour at this point, so I added the tofu to the marinade bowl and tossed it well, until each cube was coated in the sauce. I then put it in the fridge for 8 hours to let all of the flavours soak in (this step is not necessary, but I was up very early this morning and thought I'd get the meal prep done before my day started).

Later in the afternoon, I sauteed a two-inch piece of grated fresh ginger, three garlic cloves and one medium onion in 2 tsp of avocado oil. I then added 10 thinly sliced mushrooms, and half each of a yellow and red bell pepper. Once all of the vegetables were softened, I added about 6 tbs of the tofu marinade and cooked until evaporated and the vegetables were sticky.

I removed the vegetables from the wok, scraped it out and then added a teaspoon of sesame oil, just for a little bit of extra Asian flavour. I then poured in the tofu and marinade and let it cook gently. At first I thought, oh no!, because there was so much sauce it was like a soup, but after a gentle simmer for ten minutes the peanut butter had released its delicious oils and the sauce had thickened into a delightful, sticky, outstanding sauce. After about 15 minutes, the marinade had completely reduced and I added back in the vegetables, mixing gently until all combined. I served it with an Afghan parboiled basmati rice, making this dish a SouthEast-Central Asian fusion.

It was absolutely delicious: creamy, tangy, spicy and sweet all at the same time.

What would I change next time? I will definitely make sure I have light soy sauce on hand next time, because the sauce was pretty dark and the soy did emerge as a slightly more dominant flavour. Personally, I enjoy this type of dish most when the peanut flavour ties with the chili flavour for first place. I'd also crush some roasted peanuts on top, but I didn't have any today. Nevertheless, it was a delicious, relatively speedy meal which is perfect for a weekday supper. There are even enough leftovers for two lunches tomorrow! The total dish cost less than $10 in total, so with dinner and lunch for two people, that's a total of 4 meals at roughly $2.50 each. Delicious, made from scratch, and inexpensive.That's a win, win, win.

Have fun experimenting with your own variation of this meal.

*This recipe was adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

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