Sunday, December 15, 2013

Marinated tofu and Israeli couscous

I have had a bag of Israeli couscous sitting in my pantry for a while now, and I finally got around to using it in a recipe today. I found a recipe for marinated tofu and Israeli couscous from the site Liesl Made which I really wanted to try. Normally when I think of Israeli couscous I think of a salad with parsley, raisins and nuts, but I thought I might try something different and try out this recipe.

I wasn't really in the mood for cooking tonight, but I just plowed through my feeling of laziness and just did it anyways. I'm glad I did it. This recipe was delicious and it's much better than just settling with the easy option of eating toast for dinner. 

Marinated Tofu and Israeli Couscous (from Liesl Made)

Time: few hours to press tofu, 8 hours to marinate (ideally, but a few hours will do if in a pinch) then a half an hour to an hour to prep and cook

Serves 4

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium/light soy sauce (We generally only use low-sodium soy sauce. If you only have regular soy sauce you could probably substitute some of it with a rice wine vinegar.)
  • veggies/stir fry foods of choice (I used broccoli, mushroom, carrot and parsnip.)
  • 1 cup Israeli Pearled Couscous (also called Israeli Couscous or Pearled Couscous)
  • 2 cups water (You can stretch the dish out more by doing 1 1/2 cups couscous and 3 cups water and get a few more servings without losing too much flavor.)
Notable Tools + Stuff
  • basic kitchen utensils
  • seal-able container or plastic bag for marinating
  • frying pan (and fitting lid)
  • serving bowl + extra bowl to hold hold tofu temporarily
Press Tofu (a few hours before marinating or at least six hours before serving time):
  1. The first thing you want to do is press tofu to remove the excess water. What I do is wrap my block in a towel and set on the counter, place a small cutting board on top and then something heavy like a dictionary or soup can to weigh it down. I let it press for quite a while, I do a few hours. Sometimes, if I remember, I’ll change the towel halfway through because it can get pretty saturated.
Marinate (8 hours or at least a few hours before serving):
  1. Cut your tofu into cubes.
  2. Put in a seal-able container or bag.
  3. Sprinkle the agave, ground ginger and granulated garlic over top then pour on the soy sauce.
  4. Shake it up so everything gets coated.
  5. Store in fridge for at least a few hours but ideally overnight/eight hours. Shake the container every once in a while to make sure the soy sauce is soaking nicely into and around all the tofu cubes.
Cook the Couscous:
  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil over high heat. A pinch of salt is optional. (Whenever I cook couscous I add salt or sometimes even left-over veggie broth but with this recipe you want to be cautious of the salt content.)
  2. Add the couscous and drop the temperature to low. With the lid on, simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender. Then I turn off burner, give the couscous a toss with a spoon and let sit for a little while longer without the lid  to finish absorbing the rest of the liquid.
Cooking Tofu and Veggies:
  1. While the couscous is simmering I like to prep all the various veggies I want—chop up the onions, mushrooms, carrot etc. You may want to steam things like broccoli to desired texture because you will only be sauteing it (I just cut up the veggies so that they were small enough to cook through by just sauteing them)
  2. Get out a frying pan (cast iron is my favorite) and a lid that fits over it, a medium sauce pan and your serving bowl and a bowl big enough to temporarily hold your tofu. You will cook the tofu first then set aside so you can either use a temporary bowl big enough to hold it or just dump it into your serving bowl.
  3. On medium heat, sauté just the tofu cubes in oil, reserving the excess marinade for later. One of the tricks I’ve learned to get really great tofu is to cook it over medium heat for a longer time, instead of high and quick. Keep them on the burner until at least two sides of the cubes are nicely browned.
  4. Transfer tofu to your bowl temporarily.
  5. Now you’ll cook up you veggies, also on medium heat. I cook until my onions are just before the texture I like them at. This is where the lid comes in handy, it can help trap the moisture in and cook them quicker.
  6. Then you pour the extra marinade into the frying pan.
  7. Add your tofu back to the pan and continue to cook until most of the marinade is absorbed, stirring everything occasionally to get everything browning nicely.
  8. Toss the veggies, tofu and couscous in your bowl and serve. 

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