Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sweet and Sour Tofu

This is a real chance for you to fall in love with tofu, of course if you are not a fan, just yet, of this popular vegetable-based source of protein. My daughter has made a verdict "it's even better than sweet-n-sour chicken"!

Blog's Category: Hors D'oeuvre, International, Vegetarian


As vegetarian, I discovered tofu relatively recently and do not have too many great recipes for tofu. Now, I added this recipe to an arsenal, which have pretty good chance to become my number one choice for tofu. That's how much we liked this Sweet & Sour Tofu!

Nowdays, you can buy organic tofu (I would recommend to buy always only organic tofu) at any grocery store. It's inexpensive, convenient and delicious.

What is it?

Imagine Sweet & Sour Chicken.. Well, it's the same, only better ;) Tofu pieces are dredged in corn flour, fried and then drowned in a perfectly balanced sweet-and-sour sauce.

Taste Description

The most important - tofu triangles are amazingly chewy and even slightly crunchy, beating texture of sweet-n-sour chicken for a good. Slightly on sweet site, sauce is delightful. Whole dish is pleasantly satisfying and goes well along with practically anything - roasted vegetables, pasta, rice, mashed potato, etc.

How to Serve/Store

It's the best to serve right away, then you will get that awesome crunch through smooth sweet and sour sauce. Warmed leftovers are great also. They will keep in a fridge for a few days. 

Sweet & Sour Tofu 

  • 1 pack of firm tofu
  • 1 egg + 1 tbs water
  • 5 tbs corn starch
  • 4 tbs olive oil 

  • 1/3 c soy sauce (preferably light one)
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 tbs tomato paste (or ketchup)
  • 3 tbs rice vinegar (or 2 tbs of regilar white vinegar)
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp dry red chili flakes (for medium-spicy sauce)
  • 1.5 tbs corn starch
  • 2 tbs water

- Place tofu on a cutting board, cover with paper towel. Then place other cutting board on top and weight all of it with a large pot. Do not apply too much weight not to break your tofu piece.  In about 20 minutes, dry tofu with a paper towel and slice, first flat in half and then into six cubes (total 12 cubes through two levels). Slice then each cube in half diagonally to get triangles. 

- Place tofu triangles in a single layer into a flat shallow bowl/container. Lightly whisk egg with a tablespoon of water and pour egg mix over tofu. Shake slightly to get better egg coating.

- Place large frying pan with olive oil on a heat.

- Generously sprinkle corn starch over tofu pieces. Then turn them over and sprinkle starch on the other side of tofu.

- Fry tofu on a medium heat, on both sides, until nice golden brown crust forms. Transfer fried tofu in a large bowl.

- Place all sauce ingredients, except 1.5 tbs corn starch and 2 tbs water, in a sauce pan and heat it, stirring with a whisk, until it starts to boil. In a separate cup, mix 1.5 tbs corn starch and 2 tbs water and pour this mix in a sauce. Keep stirring for one more minute, take off heat.

- Pour hot sauce over tofu pieces. Shake the bowl to distribute sauce more evenly.

- Serve and enjoy!


- I like to use light soy sauce. Besides the fact it has lower level of sodium, it seems to me it tastes much better that regular one.

- Of course, some garlic, ginger and tons of other great seasoning elements can be added to a sauce. But, you know, sometimes less is more ;) Do you agree?



Monday, June 1, 2015

Carrot and Sesame Seeds Buckwheat Kasha

Another healthy choice for a side dish - buckwheat! Inspired by well known fried rice, it's fried buckwheat kasha. Just few ingredients will do a trick - delish!

Blog's Category: International, My Own Fast and Easy, Vegetarian


Yes, we, who are from Eastern Europe, love our buckwheat! Usually it's a plain buckwheat, cooked with water, salt and generously pampered with butter or olive oil. It's our favorite side to beef stroganoff, fried mushrooms or chicken kotlets. 

But this time I made something different with our old plain buckwheat. I needed to stretch a couple of cups of cooked buckwheat as a side for a three. Fried rice came to mind and I thought "ha! why not fried buckwheat!"

What is it?

It's a party on a frying pan: carrots and garlic, stir-fried until half-cooked, join some precooked buckwheat and a couple of handfuls of white and black sesame seeds.

Taste Description

Though bright and deep flavor of buckwheat is dominating, sweet carrots, pungent garlic and subtle sesame seed taste are also very pronounced and created great bouquet. But it's a texture that I appreciate the most in this dish - tiny crunchy sesame seeds cracks tenderly under your teeth, mingling among buckwheat berries. Soft texture of small pieces of cooked carrot compliments perfectly to them.

How to Serve/Store

While it is a wonderful side dish for your proteins, this fried buckwheat can be a meal on its own - abundance of vegetable proteins and micro-elements gives to your body everything it needs.  

Carrot & Sesame Seeds Buckwheat Kasha 

  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut in 2" pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 tbs roasted sesame seeds (white, black, or mixed)
  • 3-4 cups cooked buckwheat
  • 5 tbs olive oil 

- In a processor, pulse carrots just until coarsely chopped. 

- In a large frying pan, preheat olive oil and cook carrot and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add a little salt, stir.

- Add cooked buckwheat and sesame seeds. Cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes. Done! Enjoy! 


- If you don't have european grocery around to buy a buckwheat, your best bet would be roasted buckwheat from Whole Foods. 

- Cook buckwheat as you would cook rice, same ratio 1:2. I like to cook buckwheat in my rice cooker, although then ratio should be almost 1:3 with a higher water content.