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