Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pan-Fried Tofu

Children love this simple tofu dish. A little boy at a barbecue at our house once filled his plate with this fried tofu and exclaimed, “Look Mom, she made kung-fu. I love this stuff. Ask her how to cook this.” Made with mild spice, this tofu is excellent finger food for babies and toddlers. It fits perfectly into a vegetable fried rice or a curried quinoa. One of our standard family dinners while my children were growing up was pan-fried tofu, brown rice, and broccoli.


10-12 oz. nigari or firm tofu
3 tbsp. olive oil
splash of sesame oil (optional)
2 tbsp. soy or tamari sauce (use wheat-free for a no-gluten meal)
1 tbsp. ground ginger (or more to taste)
1 tsp. onion powder (or more to taste)
1 tsp. garlic powder (or more to taste)


Cut the tofu into chunks either 1 inch square and ¼ inch thick or oblongs about ½ inch thick and 2 inches long. Put the oil into a deep dish frying pan (I use cast iron) and heat on medium-high until the oil smokes slightly. When the oil is hot, add the tofu. It will spatter if it is wet, so you may want to put a lid on the frying pan for a minute until the spattering dies down. Add the soy/tamari sauce, again, it will spatter so be quick with the lid briefly until the spattering dies down. The trick to this dish is to continually stir the tofu so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. Make sure that all pieces are coated with oil and soy/tamari. You may need to add a little additional oil, but do this cautiously so that the tofu doesn’t get too greasy.

When the spattering stops and the tofu is cooking nicely, add the ginger, onion, and garlic and stir them around well.

Experiment with preferred taste to decide how long to cook the tofu. Be sure that it has at least started to brown before serving it (approximately 10 minutes). Some people like the tofu just barely cooked, others like it crispy and nearly burnt.

You can add finely chopped fresh ginger, onion, garlic, and/or sesame seeds while frying the tofu. For those who love spicy food, try adding a few drops of sesame chili oil or Mongolian Fire Oil either while cooking or after removing the tofu from the pan.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


This is a great recipe to cook for children, who usually gobble it up. The recipe also works well if you substitute my Beans with Cilantro for the refried beans. I like enchiladas because they are versatile. You can make different varieties all in one pan (just mark them off using toothpicks) and match everyone’s taste. Do some with refried red beans, some with refried black beans, some with cheddar, some with jack, or some with no cheese at all. Do some with tofu cheese substitute for vegans. Put chopped olives and scallions in or on some and not on others. You can cook for everyone with one pan of enchiladas. And this recipe is gluten-free. Here is the basic recipe.


12 corn tortillas
19-oz. can of enchilada sauce (check the label for spiciness to select the right level for your taste)
30 oz. can of refried beans (or, better yet, cook up a batch of "Beans with Cilantro and Tomato" and use that for the filling
2 cups grated cheese (cheddar is fine, but great with jack and/or Mexican cheeses)
vegetables of your choice optional (see below under directions)
2 tsp. oil to grease the baking dish


Preheat the oven to 350°. Rub an oblong baking dish with vegetable oil and spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce into a pan or bowl that is larger than the size of the tortillas. Place the cheese onto a plate or into a bowl. Open the can of refried beans. Line up these ingredients so that the enchilada sauce is first, the baking dish next, the cheese next, and the beans last.

Put the corn tortillas on a plate and zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Turn the stack over, and zap it again for 30 seconds. If you do not do this, the tortillas will remain brittle and will break when you try to roll them.

Dip a tortilla into the enchilada sauce so that it is coated. Place it in the baking dish. Put two generous tablespoons of beans into the tortilla, sprinkle cheese onto the beans, and roll up the tortilla. If you want to include any vegetables in the enchilada (e.g., olives, scallions, tomatoes, corn, etc.) then put the vegetables in before rolling the tortilla. Repeat this process until all tortillas have been filled and are placed in the baking dish. Pour any extra enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas and then sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes.

Serve the enchiladas with chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped cilantro, salsa, guacamole (or mashed avocado with a tablespoon of lemon juice), sour cream (tofutti or dairy) and/or Spanish rice. This recipe will make 12 enchiladas and serve approximately 5 people.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!