Beans, Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry in under 30 minutes

This has been one of the fastest, easiest, and i *think* tastiest dishes I have made since I ended up in my understocked kitchen. I got the inspiration from Heidi Swanson and her “Lemony Chickpea Stirfry”. I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients she called for, but I had others, so I thought why not?
The beauty about this recipe is that it packs a good nutritional punch, it’s delicious, and lends itself to endless variations. I’ll give you my take on it, and I’d love to hear back from you with some of your own variations.

Ingredients:
One cup cooked pinto beans (if you need instructions on how to cook dry pinto beans, see here)
One red onion
One capsicum (bell pepper)
8 oz firm tofu (flavored or plain)
olive oil
salt
juice of one lemon
dried basil
oregano
chili flakes, if you like your food spicy
one tomato

Method:
Add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt to your frying pan and toss in the onions and pinto beans.
Saute until the onions are browned and the beans get a light crust.
Add lemon juice, and basil and oregano to taste
Add capsicum and tofu, and allow capsicum to cook through, but not until they lose their crunch.
Make sure the tofu browns evenly on all the sides.
Toss with chili flakes. If you want it more spicy, add the chili flakes at the beginning with the oil.
After everything is cooked, add diced tomatoes as garnish.

I plan on serving it plain, perhaps with some plain yogurt. Any other serving suggestions?

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Spinach and Corn Enchiladas

This is one of my favorite dishes that I always love to make whenever I want good, home-cooked Mexican food. I’m not really sure how authentic it is, but it sure does taste good. It’s also a big hit with my teenaged brothers who could probably eat a whole pan of it in one sitting (I think they actually did that once).

This is obviously a recipe that I can only make when I’m in the states, but it’s superquick and superdelicious. You can try different variations with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and any other veggie that tickles your tastebuds.

Ingredients

12 fajita sized tortillas
Shredded or grated Mexican cheeses – Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, whatever you like
1 can enchilada sauce (I like mine spicy)
1 package frozen chopped spinach or 1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1 can whole kernel sweet corn, drained
chopped jalapenos to taste
any other veggies you want to throw in
a dollop of butter for the pan

Method

1. Combine the chopped spinach and the drained corn in a large microwaveable bowl and microwave until the spinach is wilted. It takes me about 4 minutes in my microwave. If you prefer, you can do this stovetop as well.

2. Pour half of the can of enchilada sauce into the veggie mixture and mix well.

3. Take as much cheese as you’d like and stir it into the veggie mixture. I’m not giving an amount because how cheesy you like your enchiladas depends on personal preference.

4. Spoon about two tablespoonfuls into each tortilla and roll it into a burrito. (I’ll try to add pictures later.)

5. Place the rolled enchiladas into a 9×11 buttered baking pan, seam side down.

6. Pour the liquid from the veggies as well as the rest of the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.

7. Top them with the chopped jalapenos and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese bubbles at 350 degrees.

9. Serve with black beans and rice.

10. Enjoy and try not to eat this for lunch and dinner everyday even though it’s that good.

Note – Credit goes to my cousin Lalitha for this recipe. Thanks!

10-minute Spicy Tofu Veggie Stir Fry with Vermicelli

Life is constantly a struggle against the clock. And as the day goes along, energy definitely gets to an all-time low by about 5 pm, which is when I have to decide whether I’m going to eat the never-changing, always-boring, super-greasy, not-so-healthy canteen food, or if I’m going to make myself something inspired, healthy, and inspiring. About 90% of the time – you guessed it – I go to the canteen and eat whatever slop is on my plate. About 100% of the time, I wish I didn’t. The problem is less about the time it takes to cook and mostly about the energy it takes, and the dishes I’ll have to wash instead of doing whatever I’m actually supposed to be doing.

The other day I decided to look through my refrigerator and my pantry and see what I could throw together in a minimal number of dishes and next to no time. I found tofu, vermicelli, peanut butter, chili flakes, carrots and bok choy. Yeah, I know. It sounds absurd. But I threw them all together and ended up with a lovely – healthy – stir fry.

N’s Notes
Make sure you wash and drain your tofu before you start cooking with it.

Ingredients

12 oz. firm tofu
vermicelli (more if you like your noodles in oodles, less if you like it more veggie-heavy)
4 small sized carrots
2 bunches baby bok choy
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 teaspoons chili flakes
a splash of olive or sesame oil
salt to taste

Equipment
stovetop
a trusty skillet with slightly higher rims

Method

1. Cut your tofu into small strips, about 1/2 inch thick, 1 inch wide, 2 inches long.
2. Heat a splash of your cooking oil of choice in the skillet.
3. After the oil is heated enough, toss in the tofu strips. Let them brown a little. Make sure you turn them and flip them so they brown evenly.
4. Use a vegetable peeler on your carrots and make ribbons.
5. Chop the bok choy into edible pieces.
6. Fry the vermicelli in the oil when the tofu is just about done. Leave the tofu in while you fry the vermicelli. This will take about 30 seconds. Don’t burn the noodles!
7. Toss the vegetables, with about 2 spoons of water, in with the noodles and tofu.
8. Cover and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes.
9. While your skillet is cooking, whisk together the peanut butter and chili flakes with a tablespoon of water.
10. Add salt to taste.
11. Pour your sauce into the skillet and toss until everything is coated. Let it cook for 1-2 more minutes.
12. Voila! A 10-minute masterpiece!

What I particularly enjoyed about this dish was that I only had one dish to wash afterward. And if you want to save even more dish time, you can just eat straight out of the pan – great for college students and others who are strapped for time.

This dish is also packed with protein from the tofu and the peanut butter, and plenty of vitamins like your B-complex and carotenes, from the veggies.

Variations:
If I had access to basil, I would tear about 10 leaves into 2 or 3 pieces and toss them in with the veggies to accentuate the taste. I’d love to hear any other variations you guys have in mind. Comments welcome!

edit: Joelen from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures has posted her own adaptation to this recipe. Try it out!