Tofu and Bell Peppers in Hoisin Sauce

My first memory of tofu was in the third grade. Every week, my third grade teacher would introduce us to a new food, whether it be celery, blueberries, or papaya. Usually it was something healthy and could be eaten raw. One week, it was tofu. Tofu can’t be eaten well unless cooked, so one of the parents brought it in a strawberry tofu cake. To this day, I remember it as the most incredible cake I’ve ever tasted. And it was made out of tofu! My mom has also been a tofu fan, and I especially loved it when she made mapo tofu (a recipe that I will need to conquer sometime). Anyway, this recipe is something that I’ve been making for lunches to take to work. Some of the ingredients, like the hoisin sauce and the chili garlic sauce, can be found at your local Asian market.

Ingredients:
9 ounces extra firm tofu, cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon water
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil (for cooking)

Directions:
1. Heat a wok or a deep skillet with oil to medium heat. Fry the minced garlic until fragrant.
2. Fry the tofu until all sides are lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Toss in the bell peppers and pineapple, and fry for 2 minutes.
4. Mix the hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce, water, and sesame oil. Stir the mixture in with the tofu until all is coated. Cover the wok with a lid and cook for 2 minutes. Occasionally lift the lid to stir the mixture. Finish cooking when all the sauce has disappeared.
5. Best served with rice.

2 servings

Seitan


Wheat gluten, also called seitan (pronounced /ˈseɪtæn/), wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from the gluten of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.

Wheat gluten, although not as well known, is an alternative to soybean-based meat substitutes such as tofu. Some types of wheat gluten have a chewy and/or stringy texture more like that of meat than most other substitutes. Wheat gluten is often used instead of meat in Asian, vegetarian, Buddhist, and macrobiotic cuisines. Simulated duck is a common use for wheat gluten.

Wheat gluten is most popular in Japan and China, where it was first developed, as well as in the cuisines of other East and Southeast Asian nations. In Asia, it is commonly found on the menus of restaurants catering primarily to Buddhist customers who do not eat meat.

Because it was first popularized in western nations during the second half of the 20th century through its promotion by proponents of the macrobiotic diet, seitan (the name by which it is known in macrobiotic circles) is also the name by which wheat gluten is best known in most English-speaking nations. In the West, prepared wheat gluten is generally available only in Asian markets and health food stores (although gluten flour is commonly available in supermarkets).
(wikipedia.com)

Ingredients:
1 cup vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
6 cups broth for cooking

Directions:
1. Combine gluten flour and dry spices in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce and 3/4 cup water. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir gently to combine. Gluten will have a rubbery consistency. Add more water a tablespoon at a time only if needed.
2. Once mixture is well combined, knead seitan 10-15 times, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then knead a few more times.
3. Separate your ball of gluten into three or four smaller chunks. Gently stretch each piece into a flat cutlet, around 3/4 inch thick. Seitan will expand when cooking, so you’ll want to start out with somewhat thin cutlets. Don’t worry about any holes that may form in the gluten.
4. Add seitan to 6 cups of broth (I used chicken broth) in a large pot and bring to a slow simmer. You can add extra spices or flavors to this broth as well.
5. Cover pot and allow to cook for an hour or more. Be sure to use a large pot and plenty of broth, as seitan will expand. Seitan is done cooking when it has firmed up and expanded.
6. Remove from broth, allow to cool. Seitan keeps well in the freezer in a sealed container or zip lock bag.