Hot Sesame Tofu Ribbons

This is another recipe from my recent cooking marathon at my mom’s. The recipe is tweaked from “From Beyond the Great Wall” by Jeffrey Alfors and Naomi Duguid, and oooo is it easy to make and fun to eat with some stir-fried greens and basmati rice. Their recipe didn’t actually call for the white rice cakes, but we had a bag and decided hey, why not? If you don’t add the rice cakes (and these are not your typical rice cakes people… Think little rice noodle discs), then half the rest of the ingredients for a nice, smooth sauce. For this recipe, I’d like to introduce you to The Balconies; I had the pleasure of meeting them at a recent (kick-ass) wedding that I had the pleasure of attending. Not only were they absolutely amazing on stage, but they were uber sweet table-mates. I wish them the best of luck as they compete in Ottawa’s Big Money Shot 2 — Go Balconies!

It may not look pretty, but it's absolutely luscious and something a lil' different, which makes me love it all the more.
  • 4-6 sticks (3 ounces) tofu sticks
  • 1 bag of Korean white rice cakes
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tsp roasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves (chopped, optional)

All the work in this recipe is front-loaded with the preparation of the tofu sticks and rice cakes; once they’re ready all you have to do is whip everything around in a wok for a couple of minutes. Here we go!

Bring 2 inches of water to boil in a medium pot. Add the tofu sticks, breaking them up as necessary to make them fit — they need to be totally submerged in the water. Turn off the heat. Weight down the sticks with a plate that fits inside the pot to keep them submerged. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

If you’re also using Korean white rice cakes, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and drop them in; simmer for roughly 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once they’ve softened, drain and rinse. Back to the tofu: remove the plate and drain the tofu well. Cut the sticks into 2-inch strips, trimming off and discarding any tough bits (or leave them in and see how good your dentist is). Cut the sticks lengthwise in half or in quarters to make narrow batons. Set them aside.

Heat a wok or a wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the peanut oil and sesame oil. When the oil is hot, add the chile flakes and tofu batons and stir-fry for 2 minutes, stirring and pressing on the batons to expose them to the hot surface of the pan. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar and whisk well, then pour over the tofu batons. Stir-fry briefly to combine, then bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve in a wide, shallow bowl. Taste and add a little more soy or vinegar if you wish. Sprinkle with the optional coriander and serve!


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