Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tofu Fried Rice (vegan style!)

You may not know this, but rice is one of my favorite things (foodwise). Jasmine rice is my ultimate favorite, but rice in general is a main staple in my diet. I think that if I did decide to ever go fully raw it would be my one vice...
But this past grocery store visit I ended up with the stuff to make tofu friend rice. Fried rice is pretty easy to make vegan. Just don't use a butter or eggs. If you must add a protein, use tofu. It's also fairly inexpensive to have the ingredients on hand.
I will typically make a good sized pot of rice (whatever kind I have handy, this time it was just a basic medium grain white rice) already cooked in the fridge. Directions vary depending on the kind. I've even found some that say to cook them for about an hour... yeah, no. My patience doesn't go that far. 20 minutes seem to be the average. Whenever asked how to make the best rice, my advise is to always follow the directions. :) (no, I'm not a fan of that boil in a bag/minute rice stuff. Stop being so lazy, get you some real rice... you will NEVER go back to the crap).
Another good thing to have on hand, if you love the stuff of course, is tofu. I typically buy extra firm tofu, maybe firm, but the stuff I typically make works best with extra firm. I didn't even press my tofu this time..
I do try to keep some frozen veggies on hand at all times. I love peas, and something about the firm texture I get from the frozen ones is just the best. This time it was frozen peas and carrot squares (I had a coupon for a free bag, and free is my fave number). Carrots are one of my top veggies to have around, anyway, and the way the frozen peas and carrots are set up are perfect for this recipe and very cost efficient.
One of my pantry staples is some kind of oil. Right now it's a canola and olive oil blend. Not all pans need it, but it can make things tastier and although some may not believe it our bodies require some amount of fat to survive.
Ok, enough of that. Here's the recipe:
Cook the rice according to directions.
Cube the tofu, about a half a block for 2 cups of cooked rice depending on how you like your rice to tofu ratio.
Heat your pain on medium/medium-high heat, and put in a bit of oil if needed. Brown on all sides, if you can wait that long. Some don't like it too crispy, so just cook to your liking. Keep an eye on it. And if it starts popping to the point that you burn yourself, put your shirt back on and turn the heat down a bit.
Set that aside in another dish.
Put a bit more oil in the pan. Add the amount of cooked rice you have decided you want to fry. Make sure as much of the rice as possible has oil covering it (it will be shiny). Kind of move it around and break up any clumps. Then spread it out in the bottom of the pan and let it cook a bit. I like to chop it up with the spatula to kind of check on it. Flip it, toss it, move it around in the safest way you can. The longer it cooks, the crispier it gets and the easier to flip almost like a pancake will be!
Soy Sauce! I forgot to mention the soy sauce.... the amount is up to you. About 2 tablespoons is average, depending on how much you like. I am a soy sauce snob, and will spend a bit more on a good one. The cheap ones taste terrible to me... so fake and... ick. So at this point add your soy sauce a mix well.
I have some fresh chives that I froze a while back. I use my kitchen scissors to cut some of that into little pieces and mix in. Then I add my frozen veggies.
You can add anything else you like at this point. If I had some onion on hand that would get chopped up and added, too. Keep in mind that frozen stuff needs to be added a bit before anything fresh (they obviously have to cook longer). Also, if you don't like crunchy veggies, like onions, you will want to cook them a bit longer too.
And don't worry, it's not difficult to tell when it's done. I like mine a tiny bit crispy, and it makes my house smell amazing...

I try not to make too much of this at once because it is so good that I end up eating almost all of it at once.. yeah, I love food :). Keeping the supplies on hand for your favorite dishes always makes life a little bit easier.
What do you always like to keep on hand in your fridge/pantry?