Savory Coconut Rice and Spiced Golden Tofu

I’m all for New Year’s resolutions, though I am not one for extremes. You won’t find me on a Paleo diet, completely cutting out carbs, or not eating sugar for a month. But there are modest efforts we can all make towards being healthier.

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My effort this year is to eat more home-cooked vegetables and focus on portion sizes (and learn how to make more of my mom’s classic Polish dishes, but that’s a story for another day). I’ve found that the best way for me to stick to proper portions of healthy foods is to have filling grains like rice, balanced well with protein and fiber. And, because I have a day job, to make things that reheat well.

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This savory coconut rice with spiced golden tofu hits all these requirements while packing some great flavors you may not have encountered before. It’s comfort food that you don’t need to feel too bad about. And it’s delicious.

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Savory Coconut Rice with Spiced Golden Tofu

Adapted from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Makes 4-6 servings

For the Rice:

2 cups basmati rice

4 teaspoons peanut or sunflower seed oil

1 small onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 15 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (use lite coconut milk if you wish)

3 kaffir lime leaves

For the Tofu:

1 package extra firm tofu, rinsed, and with as much water as possible pressed out

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons peanut or sunflower seed oil

4 green onion, including half the greens, coarsely chopped

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3/4 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish

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Wash the rice, and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and dry well. In a large saucepan or french oven, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Cook for 8 minutes, then add the rice and salt. Stir until well combined, then add the coconut milk, 2 cups water, and the lime leaves. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat until the rice is simmering. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just slightly liquid-y. Set it aside–the rest of the liquid will get soaked up as you prepare the tofu. Remove the lime leaves before serving.

img_5350Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. Combine the spices, sugars, and salt in a medium size bowl. Throw in the tofu and gently mix until it is evenly coated. Warm the oil in a deep skillet or french oven over medium high heat (it is likely to spatter later so you want something deep). Add the tofu, and let cook for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is golden brown and crispy. Pour off excess liquid/oil as needed to help the tofu fry. When it is almost done, add the green onions, and cook just until slightly wilted. Remove from heat, and stir in the lime juice. Serve the tofu atop the coconut rice. Garnish with cilantro.

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Vaguely Asian (and Vaguely Healthy) Brussels Sprouts and Tofu

Well, well. Just when we all thought winter would never end, it not only came to an abrupt halt, but save for about ten days of torrential downpour it seemed to turn right into the beginnings of a sweltering summer. Where have the five to eight weeks of temperate weather that scream, “It’s gorgeous out–you should go for a run!” gone? It’s 10:30PM, the temperature just got below 80 degrees in the past couple of hours, I won’t comment on the dew point (but suffice it to say there is a 100% chance of rain in the next few hours), and all this to say, when did this happen and how did I not see this coming?

Health Food?

Alas, there is no winning with nature this year. It does not care how much time you need to create your beach-ready body (someone please reassure me that three weeks is enough). And of course with the extra months of cold this year, there were many extra servings of the comfort foods that everyone loves best.

Baked Brussels

But those days are over, and in keeping with the quickly changing times, I present you with a more nutritionally-minded recipe for the brief time between snowpocalypses and sweatpocalypses. It’s vaguely Asian, vaguely (maybe mostly?) healthy, and seems like the kind of dish that can fill you up and fuel you for not just one but two workouts. So get to it!

Sprouts

Baked Brussels Sprouts and Tofu with Asian Glaze

Adapted from Cookie + Kate 

Makes 4 servings

For the brussels sprouts:

1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt (a variety with a little texture)

For the tofu:

15 ounces extra firm tofu, drained and cubed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon tamari (you can use soy sauce instead but the fins product will taste saltier)

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the glaze:

1/4 cup tamari

3 tablespoons honey (I recommend using a dark variety)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 teaspoon sriracha (use less if you are a wimp)

1 teaspoon fish oil (optional)

For the rice:

4 servings brown rice, cooked according to package instructions

For garnish:

sesame seeds (which you can toast for a few minutes on a pan)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brussels

For the brussels sprouts, combine all ingredients in a bowl and make sure the olive oil and salt are distributed well amongst the brussels sprouts. Spread the brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and set aside.

For the tofu, whisk together the tamari and olive oil in a medium bowl. Place the tofu in the bowl and stir to coat it evenly. If you want, you can leave the tofu to marinate for a few minutes…or you can go right ahead. Sprinkle the cornstarch on the tofu and mix to coat it evenly. Spread the tofu in an even layer on a baking sheet.

Tofu

Place the brussels sprouts and tofu in the oven–the tofu should be on a higher rack–and baked for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping over both the brussels sprouts and the tofu in the middle. The tofu is done when it is golden and the edges are browning. The brussels are done when they are turning golden brown–or you can do as I like to do and overcook them until they are turning a darker brown.

More Baked Brussels

For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until the sauce reaches a boil. Then reduce the heat so that the sauce is just between simmering and boiling, and let it simmer/boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it has slightly thickened.

Glazing

When all items are ready, assemble by spooning the tofu and brussels sprouts over the rice, and pouring sauce over the dish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Brussels Sprouts and Tofu