Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coconut Curried Fried Rice with Tofu

So much friendship; so much food!  Rachel and I had a friend over for dinner on Monday night.  We made a recipe which was passed along to me by another friend who has been living in China for the past year.  We enhanced the original recipe with a few little changes, and the results were quite favorable.

This dish pairs quite well with white wine, by the way.

Coconut Curried Fried Rice with Tofu

Coconut Rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups lite coconut milk (or enough water + coconut milk to equal 2.5 cups liquid)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cups brown minute-rice
Prepare the rice first (or in advance).  Combine all ingredients except rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir in the rice and return to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Then remove from heat, stir, and let the rice stand 5 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.  (Or, if you are using regular rice, prepare according to package instructions.)  Remove the cinnamon stick and set aside (or refrigerate until ready to use).

Curried Fried Rice with Tofu
  • 1 head bok choy, chopped, keeping the white and green bits separate
  • 2 packages extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive or peanut oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 - inch chunk of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • 1 - 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
First, prepare the bok choy.  I chose to steam the bok choy to give it a head start on cooking before adding it to the fried rice.  If you don't have a vegetable steamer, put about 3/4" water in the bottom of a saucepan and bring it to a boil.  Add the white bits of bok choy, cover, and steam for 2 minutes before adding the green leaves and cooking, covered, for another 2 minutes.  Once the bok choy is pretty tender, drain and set aside.

Next, prepare the tofu.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, carefully add the tofu and allow to rest for a few minutes before turning it.  Continue cooking and turning until the tofu has browned on most sides.  Set aside.  

At this point, it's time to begin the fried rice.  Heat the garlic, ginger, and carrot over medium-high heat using the skillet in which you cooked the tofu (there should be a little oil left in the bottom--if there isn't, add a little more). Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the curry powder and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.  Add the rice, peas, tofu, tomatoes, and bok choy and cook until heated through.  Finally, stir in the soy sauce and lime juice. 

Serves 6-8 people. 

This is a beautifully colorful dish with a creamy texture and mild flavor.  I would have preferred if it were a bit spicier (I might add 1 minced jalapeno the next time I make this); Simon agrees that it was a bit bland.  Even though the flavor isn't too powerful, the dish definitely packs in a bunch of tasty vegetables and protein.  We all agreed that the carrots add a nice crunch to the dish, and we could have added raisins, too.
This is a very flexible dish.  Any of the vegetables could be swapped in our out depending on preferences, availability, and price.  For the record, bok choy was available at our regular grocery store, so it's probably available at yours too. 
 Ease of Preparation:      
It took a while to prepare this dish.  To cut down on prep time, you could prepare the rice and bok choy a day in advance (Maybe you don't even need to pre-cook the bok choy, but I didn't want to risk crunchiness, given our guest!).  Or, you might try using leftover rice.
Non-vegan friendliness:     
Simon, our very own carrot deflator, didn't think this dish was substantial enough to stand on its own.  That said, the three women agreed on Monday evening that it was a good meal.  With or without the tofu, this could also be a nice side dish. 

1 comment:

  1. I ate this and I believe it is perfectly substantial! But that's coming from a guy who ate fried rice probably 2000 times in the past year.