Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vegetable Fried Rice with Tofu

This is one of the first things I learned to cook back in my earliest vegan days. I wanted restaurant-tasting fried rice, but I also wanted it to have some serious veggies in it. The measurements are approximate. The idea is to have at least as much "stuff" as rice, which is kind of backwards from how restaurants tend to make fried rice. This is fast and simple to fix, and because it's easy to change it up, we still eat it at least a couple of times a week.

You'll need:

A nice big skillet or wok, preferably with a lid. I use my big cast iron "chicken fryer" from Lodge for just about everything... except chickens.
Brown rice. Never eat white food when brown food is available! Leftover rice is fine, or cook up a fresh batch if you need to. About 2-3 cups of cooked rice with all the veggies will feed 2-4 people, depending on if you serve this as a side dish or the whole meal, which we usually do.

1/2 a block of extra firm tofu (organic! always!)
coconut oil
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 cups chopped cabbage
1-2 cups chopped kale

While a generous amount of coconut oil is heating in the pan, place the tofu in a dish towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. This makes the tofu brown much faster.

Carefully add the tofu to the hot (but not smoking) oil. It will still sputter and splatter, so keep the little kids out of the way for this step. Cook and gently stir the tofu for a few minutes, until it browns a little bit.

Add the onion and celery. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the rice and red pepper flakes to taste. This is also a good time to add fresh ginger and/or garlic if you have them. Cook for a few minutes, until the onions and celery soften.
Add the carrots and cook 2-3 minutes.

Add cabbage and kale, gently stirring them in until they wilt.

Add a generous slosh of tamari (don't stir it in yet), cover, and turn off the heat, leaving everything to steam for about 5 minutes.

Stir the tamari in and serve.

(If you don't have a lid, just stir in the tamari and cook everything for a few extra minutes before serving.)

We also like this with frozen corn and peas added before the cabbage and kale. To do this, move all the frying rice and veggies to the edges of the pan, leaving a hole in the center. Add the frozen veggies to the hole, and defrost them there for a minute before stirring them in. This keeps them from making the rice soggy. Also feel free to use broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and other vegetables you like. Don't like tofu? Leave it out. Love cashews or almonds? Add them in. Cooking is art. Get creative with it, and change recipes to suit you and your family. This can be a really different dish every time you make it. We find it a comforting, nutritious staple to throw together quickly. Enjoy!

3 comments: said...

Kim, you're slowly but surely luring me towards a vegan mean here or there, you never know where it will lead.

Maybe next, I'll be making BEADS. No, I don't have your talent.

Enjoy the holidays in beautiful Taos.

xoxo cj said...

Oops, that's meal not mean.

Denise said...

I will defiantly make this dish! it looks like a bowl of yummy BEADS!!!