Monday, February 02, 2009

Fried Rice with Peas and Tofu

Years ago, I can remember the first time I tried to introduce tofu into our diet. Jeff took one look at it and he pretty much vetoed the idea on the spot. However, he very quickly warmed up to it and we've been using it ever since. If you are afraid to try it yourself, maybe this Fried Rice with Peas and Tofu could be your starting off point?

To give the tofu a little stiffer texture, I like to cut it into the shape we need for the recipe and then weigh the pieces down inside a few paper towels to let some of the extra liquid inside squeeze out. I've also heard freezing the tofu first, then thawing, will give it a chewier texture, but I still have not bothered to try that yet as this works well enough for us. You can use white or brown rice for this, but I opted for brown basmati for a fragrant, nutty boost to this dish - I used the no-fuss method as it is such a snazzy way to get the rice cooked without having to deal with water measurements, timing or getting the heat just right. I did prepare the rice this morning and left it in the fridge to chill so it was one less thing to do tonight.

After we lightly browned the base vegetables, we scooped them into a bowl and added all the cubes of tofu - don't toss these around once they are in the pan. You'll want to let these go until the sides are well browned - if the pan ends up being too dry, don't be afraid to dribble in a little more oil to give the cubes a little fat to work with. The toasty cubes are added to the vegetables, peas are tossed in their place and given just a minute to groove around the pan until they have warmed through. Toasting fresh garlic and ginger were next, followed by the gradual addition of the rice to get the grains coated in oil. At this point, if you want bits of egg in your fried rice (we didn't this time), make a well in the center of the rice and then let them cook and scramble for a minute or two before incorporating them into the rice.

The tofu and veggies are added back in to the party, followed by a heavy shot of Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine). If you don't have this, switch it out with dry sherry, white wine or even vegetable stock for some moisture. Soy sauce for salt and color, along with toasted sesame oil for a rich depth, are stirred into the mix - to add a little complexity with Thai influence, we did drop in a spoonful of red curry paste. While we both agreed this was quite a worthwhile addition in this speedy dish, I wouldn't run out to market for just a heaping teaspoon if you already have everything else. With a scattering of cilantro on top (green onions would have been a nice touch too!), it didn't take us long to finish our plates of this tasty dish! Even though the tofu was not marinated, there were plenty of other lingering flavors in the pan for the cubes to soak up, so we didn't find them bland at all. If you would rather not go the tofu route, you could certainly chop up some chicken and cook them through at the same point you would have added the tofu.


  1. When I introduced tofu to DH he liked it only if I cooked it very crisp. This rice would be nice for a change.

  2. Shaoxing wine? You stock this? I am wild about this recipe!


  3. This looks absolutely amazing Joe, but I just don't know how hubby would react to tofu. I'd have to bury in his food, not tell him it was there, then after he ate it and liked it ...tell him what it was. It's a crying shame what I have to do to get that man to eat things he "THINKS" he doesn't like.

  4. Sounds delish! I love tofu, and this sounds really flavorful and good!


  5. Yum. For those who are tofu-phobic, some cooked chicken would work, too, I think. But me, I love tofu. I even like it raw.

    It's amazing what depth of flavor rice wine can provide. Tasty!

  6. Helene - Give it a try!

    Quinn - I do!

    Bunny - I know the place you are in. However, if you never try, you'll never know what you can get him to eat!

    Courtney - It was a nice change of pace too.

    Jen - I mentioned in the post you could swap out the tofu for chicken :-)