Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Foto: Brussel Sprout & Tofu Fried Rice

Streaks. We usually talk about them in the context of sports. Consecutive games played. Consecutive wins. Consecutive seasons with a playoff appearance. You get the idea. But streaks also happen - at least for us - in cooking. For much of the winter, we've had two streaks going: consecutive weeks eating brussel sprouts, and consecutive bimonthly fried rice dinners.

I'll just plain say it: we can't get enough brussel sprouts. To co-opt a famous SNL skit, "I've got a fever, and the only cure is more brussel sprouts." We've been eating them weekly, usually quartered, tossed in olive oil, dusted with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and roasted in the oven. (We do the same preparation with asparagus on the grill.) Sadly, the brussel sprout season is fast coming to a close...

About one month ago, we posted a recipe for chicken fried rice. We don't eat it quite as regularly as we've been devouring brussel sprouts, but it does make an appearance on the dinner table about once every two weeks. Partly, it's tasty. But also, Marin loves it. It's one of those foods that she'll consistently eat well. Fried rice nights are nights on which she happily joins the "clean plate club," as Kelli grew up calling it.

In today's Friday Foto recipe, those two worlds of brussel sprouts and fried rice unexpectedly come together in surprising and delicious ways. I came home late one afternoon/evening - neither Kelli nor I can remember exactly why - and dinner was almost ready. "We're having fried rice...with brussel sprouts and tofu," she told me. I did a double take. Fried rice with what? I loved them both independently, but had never considered putting them together. From the first bite, though, I was in heaven.

It was undoubtedly fried rice at its heart. But the brussel sprouts were prominent, too. Incredibly, it worked. The flavors complemented one another wonderfully. If I can say one thing about the dish it is this - Make it. Now. Before brussel sprouts go out of season until much later this year. If you like brussel sprouts, or fried rice, or both, you won't be disappointed.

Brussel Sprout & Tofu Fried Rice
Makes 4 servings

brown rice (1 dry cup cooked in 2 cups water, with a touch of olive oil and salt, then cooled)
1 tsp chili sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp tamari wheat-free soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp dry sherry
3 tbsp water
4 oz extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
4 cups (about 10 oz) shredded brussel sprouts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 scallions, chopped
5 tbsp olive oil

1. Cook and cool the brown rice ahead of time, or cook the brown rice, transfer to a large bowl, and pop it in the refrigerator while you work on the remaining steps.
2. Mix together the chili sauce and all ingredients through and including the water in a bowl. Add the tofu to marinate and set aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a hot wok or large skillet. Add the garlic and brussel sprouts and stir fry until semi-soft and the edges of the brussel sprouts begin to brown. Remove the garlic and brussel sprouts from the wok.
4. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the wok. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tofu from the marinade (reserve the sauce). Stir fry the tofu until golden brown.
5. Move the tofu to the edges of the wok. Add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the brown rice and stir fry until heated and separated.
6. Pour the reserved sauce over the rice, add the stir-fried garlic and brussel sprouts, and add the cilantro and scallions. Mix everything together well (making sure the sauce evenly coats all the rice), remove from the heat, and serve.


This recipe is: gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, vegetarian

- Pete


Jeanette said...

I love the idea of putting brussels sprouts in fried rice. I actually use cabbage which is similar and I love the soft melting texture the cabbage adds to fried rice, not to mention that it's healthy!

kristin said...

Great idea! My husband and I LOVE fried rice, can't wait to make this variation!

Amanda on Maui said...

This looks great. I keep seeing brussels at the grocery store and thinking I should get some. Now I have a good recipe to do that with.

Oh, and I didn't buy the evol bowl. But, at least I know they're available when I need them!

peterbronski said...

Hi Jeanette... Yeah, cabbage would be good, too! (Growing up I loved cabbage in deep fried wonton egg rolls...)

Hi Kristin... Enjoy this variation!

Hey Amanda... I only wish brussel sprouts were in season year-round! Thanks for the FYI about the Evol bowls.

Cheers, Pete

Amanda on Maui said...

Did you mean to put 1 oz of tofu? It is usually sold in 16oz amounts, and 1 oz seems like so little.

peterbronski said...

Hi Amanda... You're right. 1 oz is a typo. I've corrected it to 4 oz. We usually use half a brick, or 8 oz, in our stir fry. But for this recipe, we used only 4 oz. Of course, it's pretty flexible, so people should feel free to use more if they really like tofu and want more in there!

Cheers, Pete

Amanda on Maui said...

I went ahead and fussed with it and just used more tofu, rice, and brussels sprouts. Not a perfect ratio conversion, but the taste was awesome! It had the perfect amount of spiciness to it.

Devin practically inhaled it. I gave him a bowl, finished packing up my dinner for school, turned around and it was gone!

I think we have a winner!

peterbronski said...


Michele said...

This is brilliant -- I love cabbge in fried rice, so why not the tender, sweet Brussel sprout? Probably only because I don't recall seeing Brussel sprouts in China, or anywhere in Asia...Do the farmers sell them on the stalk in your market? Supposedly you can keep them fresh by sticking the stalk in water, like asparagus, but I haven't tried this yet....Anyway, the most creative Brussel sprout concoction(apart from yours) that I've seen lately is Brussel Sprout pizza -- sounds odd, but I think if you roasted those sprouts until they were beautifully carmelized, pizza would be delicious!

peterbronski said...

Hi Michele... Brussels sprouts on pizza. I'm going to have to try that! Our market sells the sprouts both ways - on the stalk and not. Plus, our garden has Brussels sprouts, too...if they keep growing and yield a harvest! =)

Cheers, Pete