Vegetable tofu stir fry with red and wild rice
Do you have an absolute favourite restaurant? A place you'd gladly go any time? For me, that restaurant is the Green Door - Ottawa's oldest and most popular vegetarian restaurant. They're all about organic and locally grown/produced ingredients and have an absolutely amazing selection of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free foods. The restaurant is pay-by-weight, so you can combine all kinds of salads and hot/cold dishes on the same plate, and pay for just as much as you want. I love these kinds of places, because you're not limited to a single main course and you can sample the menu. The tragic thing is that there is only one of these restaurants and it is in Ottawa, meaning that my visits to my dining spot of choice are limited to my trips to Canada!
Luckily they have an awesome cookbook which features several of their most popular dishes from the restaurant. Anyone who is a Green Door regular will without a doubt rave about their tofu stir fry. It's the one dish that regularly runs out in their food buffet, and also the one dish that people will actually wait for them to bring out more of. It's that good. Since leaving Canada to live in France and later the UK, I've taken to making my own Green Door tofu stir fry at home, and it's been on a regular rotation in our home since, well, I can't even remember.
I've made several changes to the original recipe over the years. In particular, I reduced the amount of oil used in the recipe (the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of olive oil, but I find that a couple tablespoons do just fine in a non-stick pan). I also omitted the spring onions/green onions, as uncooked onions don't really agree with me anymore. For garnish and extra colour/contrast, I added in some toasted sesame seeds. In terms of the glaze, sometimes arrowroot powder is hard to find in regular grocery stores, so I make the glaze with cornstarch when I can't get my hands on it.
The recipe comes together really quickly and makes for a great weeknight meal option. As with any stir fry, they key is to prepare all of the ingredients before you start cooking, so that you're ready to add in your veggies as you stir fry. I normally start the rice in my rice cooker, prep all of the ingredients (including the sauce and the glaze ingredients), and then get started with the tofu.
I often play around with different vegetables for this recipe. In the past I've used purple carrots, different kinds of peppers (I love red Romano peppers), and sprouting broccoli/broccolini, which have all turned out great. I've also tried adding in cabbage and kale, equally with great success. If you don't have all of the specific vegetables for this recipe to hand, don't be afraid to experiment with what you have in your fridge! When I first started cooking for myself, I would always religiously follow the recipe for the dish I was making. As I became more experienced and comfortable in the kitchen, I started to learn how fun and delicious cooking with intuition can be. In fact, I often find that following a recipe exactly doesn't always work for me - it's important to use your judgement and do what feels right!
I hope you enjoy this stir fry as much as we do. Do you have any favourite stir fry recipes? Have you tried making this one? I'd love to hear about it!
Vegetable tofu stir fry with red and wild rice
This recipe is adapted from the tofu stir fry recipe in the Green Door Restaurant Vegetarian Cookbook - the cookbook from my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Ottawa. I adapted the recipe by reducing the amount of oil (the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup), omitting the spring/green onions, providing an alternative option for the glaze (by using cornstarch in place of arrowroot flour) and adding toasted sesame seeds as an extra garnish. I like to serve this stir fry with a mix of red Camargue and wild rice - but feel free to use any rice or grain that you like.
- 1 cup red Camargue and wild rice mix
- 2 cups water
- 1 large pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1/4 cup gluten free tamari
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 block extra-firm organic tofu (about 400g), drained, patted down with a tea towel/paper towel and cut into 2-3 cm cubes
- 2-3 large carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-cm thick coins
- 1 large or 2 small heads broccoli, stems peeled and sliced diagonally, florets cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 red pepper, cut into 1/2-cm thick slices
- 1 green pepper, cut into 1/2-cm thick slices
- 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
First, start by making the rice:
- For this red Camargue and wild rice mixture, I use 1 cup rice to 2 cups water, place everything in my rice cooker, add a big pinch of sea salt, and cover and cook for 30-40 minutes (or until the rice is tender).
- If using another grain or the stove-top method, cook according to package instructions.
Now prepare the sauce and the glaze:
- For the sauce, combine the garlic, ginger, tamari and 3/4 cup water in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Give the mixture a good stir, and set aside.
- For the glaze, combine the cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl or jar. Give it a stir, and set aside.
You are now ready to get stir frying:
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tofu. Fry the tofu until it is golden on most sides, being careful not to burn it. I usually fry the tofu cubes for about 5 minutes per side, a total of about 10-15 minutes. Don't worry about getting all sides golden - the tofu will continue cooking when you add the vegetables.
- Add the carrots, and cook for 3-5 minutes until the carrots start to become tender, stirring regularly.
- Add the broccoli stems and florets, cook for another 3-5 minutes, still stirring regularly, until the broccoli is bright green.
- Pour over the prepared tamari-garlic-ginger sauce, and give everything a good stir. Cook for 5-8 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and cooked to your liking, stirring often (the liquid in the pan will start to simmer - you may need to lower the heat or add a bit more water if too much of the sauce is evaporating).
- When the broccoli is ready, pour over the prepared cornstarch/arrowroot glaze (you will have to give it a little stir before adding it to the pan as the powder will separate from the water while it sits), followed by the the peppers.
- Cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the peppers become slightly soft and the sauce thickens, making sure to give everything a good stir so that the vegetables and tofu are well coated coated in the sauce.
To serve, add the desired amount of rice to four bowls. Add as much of the stir fry as you like, and garnish each bowl with toasted sesame seeds.
Serves four as a main, more as a side.