be jealous of my lunch

by Stacy

Seriously, if you could only smell this meal. This is what I made for dinner last night and I didn’t want to leave the apartment because it smelled so good. Wow. And I have leftovers.

grilled mango and tofu rice bowl

It’s not my prettiest meal. I didn’t even try to garnish or arrange it. I was too busy stuffing it in my face so I could die happy. It was inspired by a mango-tofu dish I had at a Malaysian restaurant. Though I think that had a sauce, this was still delicious. The crisp tofu, sweet mango, and chili for spice was a great combo.

When I’m eating dinner by myself (fairly common when my husband is working days and I am working evenings), my two favorite meals are Pasta with Available Veggies Covered in Cheese and Rice Bowls with Stuff.

This falls in the latter category and centers around the mangoes we bought because they were 3 for $3! (Please disregard the local food post previous to this one, thanks.) No process photos, but this is what happened:

  • Take a block of extra-firm tofu (8-10 oz. package) and drain by placing between two plates under something heavy. I use my cast-iron Dutch oven. Let sit about 10 minutes and drain off liquid.
  • Slice tofu block in half width-wise (like a sandwich), then cut in 1/2 inch wide strips. Cut that whole thing in half length-wise to give you 3-inch-long matchsticks. You could also do cubes, I just liked them having the same shape as the mango slices coming up.
  • Place tofu in a shallow container (I used a lidded tupperware), then add marinade. All these measurements are approximate: 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon peanut oil, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 1 teaspoon chili oil, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon water. Toss with tofu and let sit 15-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and slice a mango into strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch on each side. Sprinkle with chili powder and set aside.
  • When your tofu is done marinating, carefully sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch on the tofu and toss gently. I use a fork or a small sieve to keep it even. This will help form a nice crisp outside layer on our tofu.
  • Cook up some rice on the stove or in a rice cooker, whatever works.
  • A wok would probably work, too, but I used my grill pan. The best tip I got was from the booklet that came with the pan: oil the food, not the pan. So heat the pan up (I like to let it get pretty hot, water drops should sizzle) and toss in the tofu. And by “toss,” I mean “pour gently as a single layer.” Now don’t touch it! It’s tempting, but we want to let the pan make cute little grill lines on our tofu. Let it sit for 3-4 minutes, then flip. If my slices are thin, I just worry about the two wide sides. If they’re more square, I try to get all four sides crisp.
  • When your tofu is nice and hot, remove it from the pan and set aside. Let the pan heat up again and add your mango! Yum. I had half a red pepper hanging out in the fridge, so I added a few slices of that, too. When the mango has been flipped and is slightly softened, put the tofu back in and stir it all up. If little bits are stuck to the pan, you can deglaze it with some water or soy sauce. Yum. I also tossed some ground black pepper on top because that’s how I roll.
  • Spoon some rice into a bowl and top with grilled tofu and mango. Enjoy!

grilled mango and tofu

If you don’t have toasted sesame oil, get thee to an Asian grocery right now! It’s aromatic properties are amazing. If you cook any Asian food at home and haven’t been able to pinpoint what you’re missing, it’s probably toasted sesame oil. The chili oil is good, too, and cost about $1.50 for a smallish bottle. The sesame oil will run you a bit more (twice as much as the regular grocery store, though!), but it’s used in very small amounts and is worth it. Yum.

Now go marinate something in that mix, then come back and thank me.

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