Midweek comfort is a weekly requirement in our house, but instead of turning to the takeaway menu I dig around in our vegetable drawer for stir-fry inspiration. This is my latest favourite full of big fresh flavours. It’s nourishing comfort. Comfort food you can feel good about.
One of our favourite family take-away choices (B.G.F. that is, before gluten free) was Chinese food from the local shop. My sister and I went to school with the owner’s children, and we followed them when they moved stores and expanded into two locations. The China Rose has long been a mainstay at the family table, and they will certainly never forget us after one memorable night… A little background: no-one in the TNL family (save for my BIL Trent) is known for their balance and co-ordination. We are the experts of forgetting that we have things like elbows and hipbones, trying to singe or stab ourselves at nearly every meal, and walking into things… One fine night Mum and Dad went to collect some takeaway, and my Mama decided to walk at full speed into their new, shiny, plate glass window. Down she went like a stunned bird, and home she came with a nearly broken nose and two black eyes instead of the large special fried rice and beef in black bean sauce. Poor Mama. Impressions of the incident may not have helped matters…
Today’s dish takes its cues from those China Rose nights. Flavours that are perfect for those nights when you crave comfort, but with a Thoroughly Nourished Life twist to make them a little kinder to your waistline. These are sucker-punch strong flavours and the sauce is so good I could have eaten it by itself. Bright, fresh broccoli (my favourite vegetable) is stir-fried briefly and then paired with chewy baked tofu and they all get a generous coating of a crazy flavoursome spicy honey, orange, and ginger sauce. Seriously, I want this sauce on everything. Just a few easy to find ingredients can make all the difference to a simple mixture of vegetables and tofu. Make sure you serve it on a bed of rice to enjoy every morsel of sauce. And, if you aren’t that into tofu, this also works wonderfully with chicken (this herbivore hearts her omnivorous friends too).
Put away that take-out menu and get into the kitchen! The tofu takes the longest amount of time, but in under 45 minutes(mostly hands-off) you can create your own fresh, easy and healthy version of classic comfort food and with less chance of walking into a glass wall (Sorry Mum) and more chance of feeling good about your dinner choices.
Honey, Orange, and Ginger Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry
Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 2-3 generously | Time: approximately 60 minutes
- 300 gram block harm (firm) tofu
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (ensure this is gluten free)
- 1/ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
- Large head of broccoli (about 500 grams)
For the sauce
- Juice and zest of 1 large orange
- 4 cm (~ 1.5 inch) piece of ginger, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (ensure this is gluten free)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 stalks spring onion, thinly sliced
- Slices of orange and rice to serve
- Wrap tofu in several layers of paper towel. Place between two plates and weight the top with several cans or a heavy book. This will help to extract the extra moisture from the tofu so that it gets extra crispy in the oven. Leave the tofu to drain for at least 30 minutes.
- While the tofu is draining, preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl whisk together cornflour, salt, pepper and Chinese five spice (if using).
- Remove tofu and slice into approximately 1.5 cm cubes. Toss tofu cubes in cornflour mixture and spread out on prepared baking tray. Bake for 30 -40 minutes or until the outsides are golden and crispy.
- While the tofu is baking chop the broccoli into medium florets. You can chop up the stems too or save them for another use.
- Make the sauce: whisk together all ingredients and set aside until required.
- When the tofu is finished cooking stir-fry the broccoli. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and saute for 2-3 minutes or until brightening in colour. Add sauce and reduce heat to low. Cook until sauce thickens slightly and broccoli is bright in colour but still firm.
- Add tofu to the broccoli mixture and mix through until coated in the sauce.
- Remove from the heat and serve with rice, sliced spring onions, and extra wedges of orange.