Sweet and sour tofu with quinoa

Two controversial foods tonight: tofu and quinoa.

Tofu is bland, has a weird texture and is gross. Or that’s what some people think. Well, yeah, tofu doesn’t have much flavour of its own, it’s coagulated soy milk after all! But if you prepare it right, it will be delicious (in my opinion). The good thing about tofu is that you can make it absorb any flavour you want. Press it, slice it, marinate it, and then cook it.

Quinoa has been on the news lately. Ok, not as much as horse meat, but then, not eating meat, that doesn’t really affect me. But why has been quinoa on the news? Apparently it is exported so much, that the indigenous farmers that had quinoa as a staple in their diets can’t afford it any more. (Read more on The Guardian, the “first” to write about this). I don’t doubt them. I am not going to stop buying it, since we don’t eat it that often. And try to make sure it’s fair trade (probably another can of worms, but allow me to have some faith in fair trade, please).

Today I bring these two foods together, and I let them marry in a home made sweet and sour sauce, with a punch. Don’t expect your neon orange MSG laden sauce though!

Sweet and sour tofu with quinoa

Sweet and sour tofu with quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1 block (250 gr) tofu
  • 100 gr (dry weight, about 1/2 cup) quinoa
  • 230 ml (1 cup minus 1 tbsp or so) veggie broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (or 1/2 big), sliced in quarter moons
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced in half moons
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped in 1 x 2 cm pieces
  • 1/2 courgette, in quarter moons
  • 90 ml (1/3 cup) orange juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar)
  • 20 gr (2 tbsp I’m guessing) ketchup (I like Heinz Balanz, more veggies & less sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sambal oelek (or to taste)
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder

Instructions:

  1. Press your tofu. Do not skip this step!  Drain the tofu, wrap it in a couple of paper towels and then in a kitchen towel. Put it between two dishes or cutting boards and place some weight on top (about 2 kg or so). Press the tofu for at the very least 30 minutes. The more the better. I aim for 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, soak your quinoa in some water. After about an hour, drain the quinoa and rinse the hell out of it under running water. Bring vegetable broth (it’s fine if it’s from a cube or granules) to the boil. Add the quinoa and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. At this point the quinoa won’t have absorbed all liquid. Turn off the heat and let rest for 7-10 minutes. Then the quinoa is ready.
  3. Unwrap the tofu and cut it in 5mm thick slices. Heat an anti stick pan (important) and put your slices in the pan. Cook, undisturbed, for several minutes, until tofu turns golden. Flip the slices and cook again until golden. Reserve.
  4. Mix your sauce: in a bowl mix orange juice, ketchup, sambal, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic & ginger. Keep ready.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet / pot / a wok. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper  and courgette and stir fry until everything starts to color. Then add the pineapple and cook for a couple of minutes until some pieces start to have some brown spots.
  6. Add the sauce to the vegetables and cook, stirring, until thickened. If you want more sauce, make a slurry with 2 tsp of cornstarch and 3-4 tbsp of water or broth and pour over vegetables & sauce to make more.
  7. Add the tofu to the sweet & sour vegetables and warm up. Serve over the quinoa.

Servings: 2 servings

Nutritional info:

Calories: 496
Protein: 27 gr
Fat: 17 gr
Carbs: 58 gr

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