can weeks be made solely made of weekends? i went to san diego this past weekend, and the day trip was filled with burritos, hot fudge sundaes and good company. i'm already looking forward to next weekend: one of my good friends is coming down, and we've already planned out (actually tho; there's a whole google doc with time breakdowns and everything) all the food and pretty places we're going to.
so in prep for that kind of overindulgence, this spicy pan-fried tofu rice bowl is just the thing. tofu is one of my staples; i'm essentially vegetarian at school since i only eat meat when i go out (i don't like touching/cooking raw meat, and i'm not a huge fan of meat anyways. with the major exception of everything at kbbq). between the tofu and an optional egg on top, there's plenty of protein. kimchi and all of its macrobiotic properties can help clean out your stomach. it's hearty and healthy but all of that would be for naught if it didn't taste good.
i feel like spicy pan-fried tofu rice bowl doesn't do the dish complete justice. if i had my way, there'd be 15 different descriptors tacked on, talking about all the ingredients in it because they're all delicious. but i won't, so here goes. the tofu and kimchi add that spicy, savory quality. there's plenty of herbs for freshness (i like mint, basil and scallions/green onions, but cilantro, thai basil, etc would be delicious too). nuts and the sesame seeds in the furikake add a bit of crunch and toastiness. more vegetables would certainly be welcome here, too: maybe some sauteed zucchini or broccoli or cauliflower. might i also suggest the addition of pickled daikon? my family would have revolted (i have a jar of the homemade stuff that they find a little fragrant), but maybe your family is more open-minded.
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu drained, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon hot chili paste ie sambal oelek
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro or whatever herbs you like
- 1" knob peeled ginger coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups short-grain rice cooked
- 4 large eggs cooked however you like
- 1 cup kimchi chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs: cilantro, basil, green onions, mint, etc
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts walnuts or almonds work in a pinch
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Place the tofu on a rimmed baking sheet layered with paper towels; top with several more paper towels and press gently to squeeze out liquid. Transfer tofu to a shallow dish.
Blend everything else until smooth and paste-like. Pour over tofu and turn to coat. Chill 2-12 hours. Alternatively, if you don't have time to marinate the tofu (or if you want the tofu to be super crispy), I recommend pan-frying the tofu in only cornstarch and then drizzling the marinade on top afterwards. If you coat the tofu in the sauce then immediately try to dredge it in the cornstarch, the sauce comes off of the tofu and slides into the cornstarch.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Place cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, remove tofu from marinade (do not scrape it off) and toss in cornstarch; shake off excess. Working in batches, pan-fry tofu, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; let drain.
Divide rice among bowls. Make a small well in the center of each and nestle and egg inside. Top with tofu, then kimchi, herbs, peanuts and sesame seeds. Serve immediately for maximum crispiness.
Adapted slightly from World Street Kitchen (Minneapolis) via Bon Appetit, April 2015.