Lunchbox Recipe: Marinated Tofu & Pumpkin Rice
Tofu sent me to Australia. No kidding!
A cooking contest organised by Nature's Basket in 2013, had me cooking in the finals against a gentleman. My dish was a Trio of Tofu - Korean style tofu cakes, Tofu Satay with Satay sauce and marinated tofu in rice paper rolls with a dipping sauce. The grand prize was a trip to Melbourne, which for a Masterchef Australia fangirl was a dream come true!
I often teach a tofu based salad in my Zesty Salads workshop and I can see the 'eww' look on my participants' faces when I give them the menu. More than anything else, I love to prove that tofu need not be the inedible cardboard it is thought to be. Of course, you must start off with good quality (non smelly) tofu, which is a blank canvas. Marination is a must, even if you marinate only for 15 minutes, it makes a huge difference to your dish.
My favourite tofu marinade is a mix of honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger and sometimes a few drops of sesame oil. Let the tofu cubes sit in this for 15 minutes to an hour, refrigerated. Drain (save the marinade to use as a dressing) and stir fry with sesame seeds. Use this to top fried rice, noodles, or even in a stir fry with vegetables. I promise you, this will kindle a tofu love in you :) If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you can never have too many good protein sources and this is one of them.
This rice goes into my kid's lunchbox as I strive to get all the nutrients in one box, he has no patience to eat 3 different things for lunch. This recipe ticks the boxes of protein, veggies and carbs. If you want to make a healthier version of it, try using brown rice or even quinoa or millets.
Recipe for Marinated tofu and pumpkin rice
Time taken: Under 30 minutes
- Wash and drain rice.
- In a pressure cooker utensil, place the rice with 2 cups water, 1/4 tsp salt and pumpkin cubes. Close the lid with the whistle intact. After one whistle bring flame to sim and cook for 5 minutes. Switch off flame, allow to cool, open lid and remove rice and pumpkin on a plate. Fluff with a fork.
- In a pan, heat oil. Add garlic and ginger, sauté for 1 minute. Add chopped onions, sesame seeds, sauté until onion is soft.
- Add the marinated tofu after draining from the marinade. Sauté on high flame until it turns golden. This will take 2-3 minutes.
- Add pumpkin and rice, leftover marinade, toss gently until well coated.
- Check seasoning and add extra soy sauce and black pepper if required.
- Garnish with fresh herbs such as coriander or Thai basil.
Serve hot with an Asian curry or as it is.
It is super quick to make it in a small size pressure pan / cooker, which is what I do. Anything for saving my precious morning minutes :)
Lunchbox instructions: Pack in a box that will keep contents hot. Tofu may get rubbery when cold.
Make ahead tips: You can cook the rice and keep it refrigerated. You will have to saute the pumpkin first until tender and then add the tofu, seasonings and rice.
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