veggie “pork” fried rice

17Jun13

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I have developed a theory that all the world’s most popular foods successfully blend ingredients from multiple major food and flavor groups. If you think about pizza and burritos as examples, they both meet this standard. Both incorporate vegetables, a protein, grains, and some source of fat. Both have strong flavors: pizza has more of a savory flavor profile often with a hint of sweetness. Burritos have both fresh flavors as well as spice.

Fried rice is no different. Fried rice incorporates a number of subtle flavors as well as a healthy representation from three major food groups. No wonder I crave it! Ever since living in China (where fried rice is very different — the rice remains almost white, the vegetables used are usually some kind of green and the savory punch comes from a sprinkle of MSG, not soy sauce). Since moving home I have worked on my version, which is basically a hybrid of the American version (lots of cubed veggies, scrambled eggs and some sweetness) and the Chinese version. For this recipe I also decided to add an additional protein in the form of a proxy for bbq pork. This tofu recipe relies on a robust marinade as well as a process of lacquering the tofu with a glaze while roasting. I decided to rub the tofu with shortening to attempt to mimic the fat usually present on this cut of pork loin. The shortening renders while roasting (just like on the loin), adding to the glazed crust.

It is important to use slightly old rice. As the rice dries out, it created new opportunities to absorb flavor. If you have to make rice the day of, you can dry the rice a bit in a fairly cool oven (250 degrees). The powdered ginger is also a key ingredient, lending some warmth and spiciness to the dish.

Veggie “Pork” Fried Rice

Ingredients:

BBQ Pork-Style Tofu

  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 16 ounces of extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

Scrambled Egg

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Fried Rice

  • 2 cups cooked rice, at least a day old
  • 1 medium yellow onion, brunoised
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups carrots, brunoised
  • 3 cups celery, brunoised
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Instructions for BBQ Tofu

  1.  Put kiwi, garlic, rice wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar and five spice powder in a blender. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. Empty marinade into a gallon size ziploc bag.
  3. Slice tofu into 1/2 wide pieces. Put tofu in the ziploc bag, seal and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Mix honey and ketchup together in a bowl. Set aside.
  6. Remove tofu from marinade.
  7. Rub the surface of the tofu with shortening.
  8. Place tofu in a glass baking dish.
  9. Brush all sides of the tofu with the honey-ketchup mixture.
  10. Bake tofu for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  11. Remove tofu from the oven, brush all sides of the tofu with honey-ketchup mixture. Flip tofu over and return to baking dish. Return to oven for 20 minutes.
  12. Repeat process 2 more times.
  13. Remove tofu from over and let it rest.
  14. When cool, slice the tofu into 1/4 inch cubes. Set aside.

Instructions for Scrambled Eggs (omit for vegan fried rice):

  1. Put eggs, water, sugar, white pepper, salt and sesame oil into a small bowl. Scramble with a fork.
  2. Add egg mixture and gently stir until eggs have cooked but are not yet browned.
  3. Remove eggs from the wok and let rest of a cutting board.
  4. When cool, chop eggs into bite-sized pieces.

Instructions for Fried Rice:

  1. Bring day-old rice to room temperature.
  2. Chop onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, celery and set aside in separate containers.
  3. Heat peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onions and sauté until the onions are translucent but not yet browned, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add carrots and celery. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add powdered ginger, sugar, white pepper, salt, soy sauce and rice wine. Stir and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  8. Add rice. Stir to incorporate.
  9. Add peas ans cook until peas are hot, about 3 minutes.
  10. Add sesame oil, egg and tofu. Stir to incorporate.
  11. Enjoy!
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