Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tofu & Broccoli with Israeli Couscous
Upon learning that I am a vegetarian, people generally ask me something along the lines of, "Well, if you don't eat meat - then what do you eat?" They scratch their heads with a perplexed look on their face and reveal an ever so commonly held misconception, which goes something like, "I need meat to survive and stay healthy and active." Come to think of it, back in my days as a ravenous carnivore I wondered the very same thing. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to answer that question, and shed a little light on what this vegetarian/vegan prepares on the reg to stay nutritiously hooked up and flavorfully well-fed.
This dish is most definitely a staple of my diet. It is so unbelievably tasty and easy to prepare, as well as being crazy healthy and energizing. I make it again and again and never grow tired of the exciting burst of flavor and the happy tummy it gives me. It is a great one to share with meat eaters, simply because it's friggin' delicious...
The secret weapon here is ginger powder. I'll grate some fresh ginger in the pan if I have it, but the powder gives it just the right amount of zing to create the perfect balance to the sweet, tangy Soyaki and the fire of an Asian chili paste like Sriracha.
Tofu & Broccoli with Israeli Couscous
1 cup Israeli Couscous
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz. extra firm tofu, cubed
lots of broccoli, chopped into florets
3-4 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2-3 tbsp Soyaki or similar sauce/marinade
2 tsp ginger powder or fresh mined ginger
1 tsp Sriracha or other Asian chili paste
pepper to taste
Although this goes great with quinoa, rice, etc., I prefer serving it with Israeli Couscous. In Israel, they call it Ptit Tim (peTeet Teem), and it's damn good. They now carry it at Trader Joe's and I think you can find it in most supermarkets.
Put the dry couscous in a small pot with a tablespoon or so of oil and put it over low to medium heat. Shortly after turning on the flame, add the onion and garlic and let it cook uncovered, stirring frequently so it doesn't stick. When most of the couscous gets toasted and lightly browned, add just enough boiling water to completely cover it and put it over low heat with the pot covered. It should look something like this just before you add the water:
Put the tofu in a separate oiled pan over medium heat and let it cook on one side for about 5 minutes, until nice and crispy on the cooked side. Keep an eye on the couscous - it only takes a few minutes for the water to boil off, and it softens up pretty fast. When the water is gone, turn off heat, stir it up and let it sit, covered.
Flip the tofu so that every piece gets browned on both sides. After the flip, add the broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan off to one side. Pour the soyaki on top of the broccoli and sprinkle the ginger powder on everything in the pan. By now the pan will be nice and hot - it won't take as long for the tofu to brown on the other side and the broccoli will cook quickly. After just 2 or 3 minutes squirt the Sriracha on top, mix everything together in the pan, and let it cook for another minute or two.
Now, I love me some hot spice - but I don't think this dish needs a whole lot of Sriracha. There is plenty of flavor happening with the ginger and soyaki, and the heat of the chili paste can easily overpower a meal.
Put the cooked Israeli Couscous on a plate and serve the stir-fry over it, topped with some fresh ground black pepper. Sit down to eat and prepare to have your mind blown! If you're feeling super indulgent, drizzle a bit of tahini on top or add some nutritional yeast flakes. Bon appetit - or as they say in Israel, La Breeut!