Category Archives: Asian foods

General category for all posts featuring Asian foods.

Sweet and Sour Tofu Meatless Balls

Think of the tofu as a mince that you add diced vegetables to, coat with a batter and fry or bake. Dip those into any sauce you like (here, Sweet & Sour) and you have a low fat, high-protein meal that freezes well.

There are three steps:

Prepare the tofu

Prepare a sauce

Combine

Ingredients

For the Meat-less Balls

  • 2 packages of extra firm or firm tofu
  • ½ – 1 cup of minced vegetables
    • (a mix of seasonal vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, turnip, onion, bell pepper, sweet potato, pumpkin)
  • ¼-½ cup of starch (corn or potato
  • Seasonings
    • ½ each teaspoon onion, garlic, chili powder, salt

For the crust

  • ½ cup of starch
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbs onion powder (to taste)
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbs garlic powder (to taste)
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbs chili powder (to taste) (optional)
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs/panko
  • 1 cup milk or plant based milk

For the sweet and sour sauce

base

  • ¼-⅓ cup sugar (brown or white)
  • ¼-⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs catsup
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (light is preferred, but dark will do)

+

slurry

  • 1 cup liquid (water or pineapple juice or a blend)
  • 2 tablespoons of starch (corn or potato)

Directions

  1. Drain the water from the package of tofu.
  2. Place between a dish towel and place something heavy upon it.
  3. Let the tofu press for 30 – 60 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Prepare the crust

  1. Combine ½ cup of starch with the spices and sift. Set aside.
  2. Pour 1 cup of milk or plant based milk in a bowl and set next to the starch.
  3. Pour 1 cup of bread crumbs into a bowl and set that next to the milk.
Seasoned flour, a liquid, and the bread crumbs all neatly lined up.

Prepare the sweet and sour sauce

  1. Combine the sugar, vinegar, catsup and soy sauce in a bowl and stir to dissolve the catsup and sugar. If the sugar does not dissolve, you can heat it in a small sauce pan.
  2. Combine 1 cup liquid with the starch and stir to dissolve. (The starch will settle at the bottom. This is normal.)

For the meatless balls, fried

  1. Peel and mince your vegetables. The smaller the cut, the easier they are to incorporate into the mixture.
  2. When the tofu has pressed, crumble it in a bowl and mix in the vegetables. 
  3. Add ¼ cup of starch and mix. Squeeze a handful of the mixture in your hand. If it holds together, shape into balls. If not, add more starch until you can form balls. You can also press the mixture into shapes.
  4. Roll the balls in the spiced starch.
  5. Dip the balls into the milk.
  6. Coat the balls in the bread crumbs and set aside.
  7. Heat oil in a pan to fry.
  8. Fry the tofu balls in the hot oil until well browned. 
  9. Drain on paper towels.
  10. In a saucepan combine the sweet and sour sauce and the slurry. 
  11. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. It will thicken after the boil. 
  12. Dip the fried tofu balls into the sauce and serve over rice. 

For the tofu balls, baked

  1. You can either mist the tofu with oil or bake directly in a very hot 250C/400F oven for 30-40 minutes. The oil will give the tofu a very firm crunch.

Alternatively 

  1. After the tofu balls are fried, stir fry 2 – 3 cups of sliced vegetables in hot oil. 
  2. When done to your liking add ¼ of the sweet and sour base and bring to a boil. 
  3. Add the slurry. 
  4. Bring to a boil. The sauce will thicken. 
  5. Add the tofu. 
  6. Serve over rice. 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. As I’m learning how to blog, if you have any suggestions on how I can improve, please write them in the comments below. Also, let me know what you think of my recipe.

Japanese (Garlic) Fried Rice, Vegetarian Version

If there’s a secret to quality fried rice, it’s high, high heat but also a pinch of sugar and a dash of MSG. I’m making Japanese Fried Rice with a few surprises.

In the video, I prepared three different fried rice versions: a vegetarian, a chicken, and a (traditional) pork. Today I’ll post the vegetarian version with brown rice and later in the week the remaining two.

Ingredients

  • 10 grams minced ginger
  • 15 grams minced garlic
  • 50 grams of the green part of a scallion, sliced
  • Up to 2 cups of minced vegetables (carrots, broccoli, red/yellow peppers, corn are good starts, but use what’s in season)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cooked brown (or white) rice
  • 1 teaspoon konbu salt (optional — recipe below)
  • ½ teaspoon MSG (optional, but restaurants use it)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, restaurants use it)
  • Up to ¼ vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake or Shaoxing Wine (optional, but used in restaurants)

Directions

  1. Prepare the garlic and ginger, set aside in its own dish.
  2. Prepare the scallions, set it aside in its own dish.
  3. Prepare all your vegetables, set them aside in their own dish and toss them with the konbu salt, if using.
  4. Beat two eggs with salt in its own dish and set aside.
  5. Heat a wok or deep fry pan, add your oil and gently sauté the garlic and ginger until it’s nicely browned.
    1. Strain. Keep the browned bits of garlic and ginger for later
    2. Add the oil back to the pan.
  6. Cook your vegetables in the flavored oil about five minutes until almost done.
    1. Remove them from the pan.
    2. Add the flavored oil back to the pan.
  7. Turn the heat up to the maximum setting and all at once add the eggs to the hot oil. Quickly stir. When the whites are set but the yolks still wet, add all the rice at once.
  8. Mix the rice into the egg — do not lift the pan from the fire.
    1. Restaurants cook at a much higher temperature and can toss the rice at this point, but the home cook should not. You want to cook the egg and dry the rice, so keep the pan on the burner until that happens.
  9. When the egg and rice are thoroughly mixed add the scallions and cook one minute.
  10. Add the vegetables and the browned garlic/ginger and mix well.
  11. Pour the soy sauce around the edge of the pan and mix well.
  12. Add the MSG and sugar, if using and mix well.
  13. Add the sake or Shaoxing Wine around the edge of the pan and mix well.
  14. Taste and correct for salt — you’re done.

Konbu Salt

Konbu (aka dried kelp) is rich in the flavor called umami, which is what MSG has. If you prefer not to use MSG in your cooking, you can get an umami boost with konbu salt — readily available in many asian markets, but you can easily make it at home.

To ½ cup table salt add 5 grams of dried konbu. Put it in a heavy duty blender and blend at full power until the konbu is pulverized with the salt. Strain through a wire mesh filter and use as needed. Discard any larger pieces that you filter out.