• Stir Crazy!

    by Ellen on June 20, 2009 · 10 comments


    There is a Chinese restaurant my husband and I used to patronize regularly, pre-Celiac days. Everytime we drive by it, we both sigh. We fondly remember walking into the dimly lit restaurant, sliding into a booth – seemed that every single one of them had electrical tape filling up the cracks in the vinyl. And when the waitstaff came to take our order, we would rattle off exactly what we wanted, without even looking at the menu. We had the same thing every time and we knew the number of each dish by heart.

    No more sighing for us. Granted, we can’t waltz into the restaurant and order off the menu. Way too risky. Even if the food were inherently gluten free, the waitstaff don’t speak much English and the chances of cross contamination are way too high for us. So, instead, when we find ourselves craving Chinese food, we roll up our sleeves, pull out our wok, and stir fry like crazy.

    Our homecooked Chinese meal was almost exactly like what we used to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Except that tonight’s menu was gluten free and vegan. It included Sweet & Sour Tofu, a recipe I adapted from Ginger Lemon Girl’s Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe, Fried Rice, and yes, “W6″ (the number of the broccoli dish we always used to order). I know I’m bragging, but lemme tell you, it was finger-licking good. In fact, being the little piggy that I can sometimes be, I displayed a huge amount of restraint in allowing myself one plateful. My husband, on the other hand, went back for seconds and then for thirds. He moaned after he took the last bite, but said it was totally worth it! I think he was partially trying to distract himself from the movie we’d rented (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) which we both thought was really stinky.

    If you want to make this entire meal, it requires some skill to pull it off so that everything is ready at approximately the same time. If it’s your first time, perhaps you might want to try making the Fried Rice and the Broccoli either the day before or earlier in the day (assuming you’ll be serving it for dinner). But if you’re good at multi-tasking, heck, go for it.

    Sweet & Sour Tofu

    I will explain how I prepped the tofu. For the rest of the recipe that I used, please go to Ginger Lemon Girl’s Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe.

    Drain a one pound package of extra-firm tofu (I love Trader Joe’s – it’s really firm). Place on a flat plate, cover with another flat plate, cover the top plate with a heavy weight (I use a cast iron pot). Let it sit for a minimum of one hour (more is better). When you’re ready to proceed, drain off the water that pooled underneath the tofu. You might want to pat the tofu with a wad of paper towel, just to make sure that it’s as dry as possible.

    Cut tofu into desired shape. I cut my tofu into cubes. Then follow Ginger Lemon Girl’s recipe. I chose to bake my tofu cubes, but after 15 minutes, I removed them from the oven and then pan-fried them in a little bit of peanut oil, just to crisp them up.

    Fried Rice (no eggs)
    (Printable Recipe)

    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
    1/2 cup cubed carrots
    1 small red bell pepper (or yellow or green), diced
    1/2 cup snow peas, sliced at an angle
    4 scallions, thinly sliced
    2 cups uncooked jasmine rice, cooked until done and cooled
    1/2 cup frozen peas
    1/3 cup wheat-free tamari

    Heat a wok or large non-stick large skillet over high heat. Add oil to the pan. Add garlic, ginger, carrots, pepper, snow peas, and scallions. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add cooked cooled jasmine rice and combine with veggies. Stir fry for 2 minutes, until rice and veggies are coated in oil and everything is evenly combined. Add frozen peas (they will defrost) and tamari. Stir fry for one more minute.

    Broccoli in Sesame Garlic Sauce
    (Printable Recipe)

    1 head of broccoli, cut into small florettes
    1/3 cup rice vinegar
    2 1/2 tbsp wheat-free tamari
    1/4 cup sugar, honey, or agave
    1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    1 minced garlic clove
    2 tsp Asian Chili Garlic Paste
    1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    1/2 cup peanut or other vegetable oil
    1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

    Steam the broccoli and quickly dunk in ice cold water bath to stop the cooking. Drain.

    Whisk the rice vinegar, tamari, sugar, ginger, garlic, chili garlic paste, and sesame oil. Slowly drizzle in the peanut oil and continue to whisk. Pour over the broccoli. Top with toasted sesame seeds.

    Grab your chopsticks and enjoy!

    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    Carrie @ www.gingerlemongirl.com June 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    YAY!!! I received the sweetest email from your sister about you both enjoying this recipe!! Thank you so much for posting about it! i have to admit that I HATE I am allergic to soy because I used to really love tofu… seriously, i love it just lightly sauteed in peanut oil with a tiny bit of sea salt added… I could snack on that all day!! Oh my… I bet it is delish with that yummy sauce!! ;-) I can't wait to try your broccoli! ;-) And I hope I haven't missed you in NC this summer!!

    Reply

    Martha June 21, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Ellen, I think you should open a restaurant. That meal looks amazing. I will attempt it soon.

    Reply

    Anonymous June 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Yes, it was fabulous Carrie…..I can't wait to make it again. I will be in NC from 7/15 to 7/24. Are you near Raleigh?
    Ellen, again, bravo to my sister! Yes, you open the restaurant and I'll be your sous chef!!
    Remember, the Silly Celiac Sisters
    can do anything they put their minds to!!

    Reply

    cinnamonquill June 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Can't wait to make this!

    Reply

    thewholegang June 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    This sounds really good. I too miss the last minute, hey let's go out to that great little Chinese restaurant. I can't eat rice so I have to get really creative. The broccoli dish sounds wonderful. I have to get some of that chili garlic paste.

    Reply

    Gina Perry June 28, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Made the broccoli tonight – super yummy and so easy. My husband even enjoyed some and he honestly has never eaten ANY broccoli in the 11 years I've known him!!!

    Reply

    Martha January 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I finally made the Sweet and Sour Tofu last night. I made one batch of Tofu (for me) and after breading that, I used the remainder of the breading to make Sweet and Sour Chicken for the rest of the family. Everyone LOVED this meal. I adapted it today for my Celiac client (she doesn't eat vinegar or refined sugar, so I have to make her ketchup and I subbed agave nectar for the sugar), and it still turned out well.

    Reply

    Martha January 15, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Ellen, I use your recipe for Fried Rice, as well as Ginger Lemon Girl's Sweet and Sour Tofu, all the time. In fact I was coming here because I remembered you also had a broccoli recipe posted and I wanted to try that as well.

    Reply

    Juju@GetFitwithJuju March 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I will be making this after my brown rice is done! Thanks for an easy recipe! Hubby and I have to drive over a bridge to the next town to get our Chinese food fix!

    Reply

    Ellen April 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Easy peasy – my middle name!

    Reply

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