Vegan meals don’t need to be time consuming or a faff. With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to put together a nutritious, delicious and satisfying dinner. This recipe is my go-to when I’m tired or just can’t be bothered, and is the epitome of what I like to call ‘jazz recipes’. ‘Jazz’, because it’s a bit free form. There are not any set ingredients or measurements. It’s all down to what you like and how you feel!
Rice – cooked as according to instructions
Firm tofu (I like silken – it’s a little more difficult to work with, but I think it’s worth it)
Greens (Chard, spinach, kale, spring greens, pak choi – anything dark and leafy will work)
Oil for frying (I like olive, but sometimes I go for toasted sesame)
Sliced chilli pepper ( you can use dried, but fresh is best)
Grated ginger (again, use fresh if at all possible)
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Start cooking the rice. I usually let it simmer while I’m preparing the tofu and the greens.
Drain and dry the tofu. I like to slice mine and lay it out on paper towels at least an hour before I plan to cook it. It’s helpful to change out the paper towels a couple of times so that more moisture is absorbed. Sprinkling a little salt over the slices can also help draw the moisture out.
How you chop your greens depends on the type you’re using. I rough-chop pak choi, and I don’t bother cutting spinach at all. If you’re using spring greens, prepare them by slicing them into thin ribbons (I roll mine up like a cigar to do this). Place your prepared greens into a large bowl and add the soy sauce, chilli pepper, ginger and garlic and toss everything together. You want to make sure the greens are well coated but not soaked. The greens are what add most of the flavour to this dish, so don’t skimp on the spices.
Add enough oil to cover the surface of your frying pan and heat it over medium-high heat, just until the oil starts to dance and shimmer. Add the tofu and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning the tofu every two minutes. Add a little salt to each side to least once during the cooking process. This helps it crisp, which is important as well prepared tofu gives vital texture to this dish. Once it’s nice and golden, remove it from the pan and drain it on a paper towel.
Pour any excess oil from the pan and put it back over the heat. Add the seasoned greens to the pan and sauté. Your cooking time will vary depending on the greens you’ve chosen. Spinach and chard take only a couple of minutes while kale and spring greens take a bit longer. The idea here is just to wilt the greens. You don’t want to brown them or have them become limp and soggy.
To assemble your rice bowl, place the cooked rice into bowl, add some greens over the rice, and top with the fried pieces of tofu. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired. I like to serve this dish with a side of miso soup with tofu, because more tofu is never a bad thing.