Spicy Braised Tofu & Rice

One of my favorite things about Asian cuisine and vegan cuisine is just how easy it is to make a dish that is both quick and easy, plus packed with flavor. As much as I love to cook, I have a fairly busy life as a ghostwriter, author, blogger and foodie, not to mention wife, friend and daughter. Cooking a long meal reminiscent of American Thanksgiving isn’t exactly what I’m into when it’s my turn in the kitchen.

That’s why I am obsessed with cooking shows, both on television and YouTube. And trust me, I’m not one of those purists who refuses to watch cooking videos made with animal products, I watch them for ideas on flavors and seasoning, ALWAYS with a mind towards veganizing. So when I came across this braised chicken dish all I could think of was braised tofu.

Braised tofu, y’all.

The first thing I did was season the tofu. You can choose any flavor combo you desire, but since I planned to use my Korean chili flakes, I used an allspice rub with curry, cumin, smoky and spicy paprika, and a pinch of coriander. Add some dark soy sauce or vegan Worcestershire to penetrate the tofu, trust me this will make sure the flavor goes all the way down to the center. Nothing is worse than spending time cooking a piece of tofu only for it to come out bland and tasteless.

Set aside the tofu and chop your onions, garlic, ginger and bok choy, separating the stems from the leaves since they have different cook times.

Once everything is chopped, put on water to boil for your rice. Again, I’m not a rice purist, I buy what I feel like eating because, as a carb-a-holic, I prefer different types of rice for different dishes. For this braised tofu dish I used jasmine rice because it smells good and because I love the way the long thin grains seem to soak up sauces.

Take moment to make the sauce for braising. It’s super simple, all you need is soy sauce, coconut sugar (optional), Korean chili flakes, scallions and lime juice. Whisk it all together in a bowl with 1/2 cup of water, adding more if needed. Set aside for later.

Add a bit of olive or coconut oil to a deep skillet along with tofu, cooking on each side about 4 to 5 minutes, until it gets brown and crispy. Then remove the tofu from the skillet and set aside. Note: You may have to do this in batches unless you have a giant skillet.

Add a bit more oil if needed and then add ginger, onion and bok choy stems (white part) and sliced garlic to saute for a few minutes, about 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the greens and let them start to steam or wilt.

Add the sauce to the pan and stir, letting it simmer until it begins to reduce.

Then add the tofu and make sure everything is coated before turning off the fire.

That’s it…when the rice is done you are ready to eat.

Serve on a bed of rice or noodles and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).

And if you’re feeling a little parched…feel free to add something cold to drink!

What’s your favorite way to have tofu? If you like this dish and make it, please share photos & comments below!

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