Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tofu Fried Rice with Cabbage

I've always preferred cabbage in the cold weather (warm and cooked), rather than in the summer, when you find it raw in slaws and salads. For two great cabbage recipes, see my posts from last fall for Braised Red Cabbage with Sausage and Apples, and Cabbage Gremolata, both of which earned high marks in my rating system. When exploring cabbage varieties, don't forget napa cabbage. An Asian variety (nappa is Japanese for the leaves of any vegetable), it has a mild delicate flavor, and fits right in to this easy fried rice dish.

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 12 ounces firm or extra-firm lite tofu
  • 3 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 3 cups cooked and chilled long-grain rice*
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drain the tofu and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.  Add to the pan and cook for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove the tofu from the pan.

2. Add the napa cabbage and cook for 45 seconds, stirring constantly - the cabbage should be wilted.  Stir in the chilled rice, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Reduce heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Return the tofu to the pan, along with the peas, green onions, and salt.  Cook for a final 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*This dish is great for using up leftover rice. Prepare and chill up to a day ahead, so it's ready to go when you put together the recipe. I like storing cooked rice in 1-cup portions, for easy use in recipes.

Nutrition Info:
5 servings (1 cup), Calories 226 

Tasting Notes:
Loved this. It reminded me so much of the fried rice I ordered at a Chinese restaurant near my hometown as a kid, except with tofu taking the place of eggs. Nice fresh bits of green peas and cabbage, and exactly the right amount of soy sauce. I might treat the tofu differently next time, baking in the oven first for a dense, chewy texture.  A touch of garlic might go a long way towards amplifying the whole dish.  


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