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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Broccoli Slaw Asian Style "Noodles" with Crispy Tofu

Shredded broccoli stalks and tofu just doesn't sound all that exciting, does it?  But if you took one bite of this dish you would never believe it wasn't pasta.  And you might think it came from your favorite Asian take-out place.  I saw a bag of broccoli slaw at the supermarket (near the salad mixes), and thought I would try it a different way this time.  Usually I top my salad greens with the slaw, just for the added nutrition and crunch.  But the tofu nearby caught my eye, and I started dreaming about PF Chang's.  I love the way they make their tofu so crispy on the outside, and silky on the inside.  Seriously, it would change your mind about tofu.  But I'm not about to start deep fat frying tofu on a busy weeknight in my house.  Cornstarch came to the rescue, and produced surprisingly similar results!  Trust me on this one, it's a way to keep your diet super clean while still eating something that tastes like gooey, spicy, indulgent pasta! 

For the "noodles":
1 12 oz. package Broccoli slaw (mine had shredded carrots and red cabbage in it as well)
1 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu
2 cloves garlic, minced

For the sauce:
1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. bottled pad Thai sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/8 tsp. ancho chili powder (use a dash of cayenne pepper in place)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup water

For the tofu:
1 Tbsp. sweet red chili sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Dash of tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2 cup cornstarch

1.  Begin by squeezing the excess water out of you block of tofu.  Peel back the corner of the package and let the water run out, then place tofu on a couple of paper towels.  Cover with more paper towels and place a heavy object, like a saucepan, on top.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes.  (I like to use more paper towels and give it one more gentle squeeze after 30 minutes, just to ensure it's dry.)

2.  In the meantime, sauté the garlic with a small amount of coconut oil and 1 Tbsp. water in a large sauté pan.  After 2 minutes add the broccoli slaw to the pan, along with 1/2 cup water.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently.  You may need to add more water if it dries out before it's done cooking. 

3.  In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients, and whisk until smooth.  Start by adding half of the sauce mixture to the cooked broccoli slaw, bring to a boil, then taste.  I prefer the entire bowl of sauce, my husband likes it with less.  Add the rest of the sauce, if desired, and bring to a gentle boil for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.  Scrape the slaw into a bowl. 

4.  Slice the tofu lengthwise and crosswise so you get about 1-inch cubes.  Fill a gallon Ziploc bag with 1/2 cup of cornstarch, salt, and pepper.  Seal and shake to mix.  Open the bag again, and gently add the tofu cubes.  Shake gently until tofu is coated. 

5.  Wipe out the pan you cooked the slaw in with a paper towel.  Add a tiny bit of coconut oil, (you don't want to much oil or the tofu won't brown), then add the tofu cubes.  Cook for 5 minutes then flip, either with a thin metal spatula or a fork.  You want to make sure each cube is browned on all sides.  Cook 5 more minutes.  While tofu is cooking, combine sweet red chili sauce, olive oil, and tamari in a bowl and mix to combine.  Remove the cooked tofu from heat and drizzle with the chili sauce mixture.  Using a spatula, mix the tofu and sauce until evenly coated. 

6.  Using tongs, add the broccoli slaw noodles to a bowl, then top with tofu. 

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