the taste space

Tofu with a Zesty Rhubarb Sauce

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on June 26, 2010


I normally don’t go to the trouble of a meal with lots of side dishes, as I prefer one-pot wonders.  I like to have a complete meal in one dish. Rather, I like to cook this way as I find it easier. Perhaps I am lazy and don’t want to make many dishes that need to be timed to finish at the same time, or maybe because I really don’t like to clean dishes.

I am glad that I wasn’t intimated by the long list of ingredients, steps and components of this dish. Because it was phenomenal. I have been investigating unique ways of cooking rhubarb and this did not disappoint.  Each component was outstanding on its own and together they were simply divine.

First, the rhubarb sauce is zesty: sweet, sour and pleasantly spicy all in one. Ginger, chili flakes, garlic, soy sauce and honey work really well together. Second, we have crisp firm tofu that has been marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce including allspice, ginger, and chili flakes. I have fallen for allspice recently and absolutely love it. This is served over a bed of rice that is combined with wilted kale, and as you use the same pan from the tofu, any brown bits (=flavour!) get included into the rice mixture as well. Topped with chopped cashews and green onions, this is a very tasty dish with many complex textures and flavours.

This recipe was adapted from Mostly Eating, who adapted it from Jamie Oliver’s Hot and Sour Pork recipe.

I am a bit late, but we’ll see if Ricki can add this to her SOS Rhubarb round-up (I can’t wait to see what everyone else made), as well as to this month’s Cooking with Seeds event featuring pepper.

Tofu with a Zesty Rhubarb Sauce

The tofu and marinade
1 Tbsp honey (agave nectar for vegans)
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (plus a little extra for cooking)
1 Tbsp sake
500g plain firm tofu, cut along the horizontal and then into thin strips

The sauce
3 cups rhubarb, trimmed and roughly chopped (~400g)
A big thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp honey (or agave)
3 Tbsp soy sauce

The topping
2 Tbsp cashew nuts, roughly chopped
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 limes, halved

The rice
3 cups brown rice (I used sushi rice, yum!)
15 loose cups kale, leaves torn (I used the whole package from the grocery store)
2 tsp sesame oil

1. A couple of hours before you want to eat or the night before, marinate the tofu by mixing all of the marinade ingredients together and pouring the marinade over the tofu.  Mix and leave aside in the fridge.

2. When you are ready to start, begin by getting the rice cooking (you can leave this part until a little later if you are using white rice or noodles).

3. Put all of the sauce ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour the resulting puree into a saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes (the sauce will happily keep warm while everything else falls into place).

4. Discard extra marinade from tofu. Heat a tiny splash of oil in a non-stick pan and sauté the tofu slices until golden.  Put aside somewhere warm.

5. Just before you are ready to serve, use the residual oil in the non-stick pan (add a little more if you need it) to cook the kale until it softens a little and turns a brilliant green.  Add the cooked rice to the kale along with a scant few drops of sesame oil.

6. To serve, dish out the rice/kale mix into warmed bowls, followed by the tofu and topped with a good dollop of the sauce.  Finish by sprinkling over the topping ingredients, giving each person half a lime to add to taste.

Serves 4-6.

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8 Responses

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  1. Ricki said, on June 30, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Stunning photos. I have come to really love tofu–and this looks like such a great way to prepare it.

  2. [...] Tofu with a Zesty Rhubarb Sauce [...]

  3. [...] November rolled around and I still have the rice cooker, without having made Tamarind Lentils myself. But lots of rice, mind you. [...]

  4. Ashley said, on March 16, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    I really don’t like rhubarb in sweet foods but am very intrigued by this savoury use of it!! I’ll have to try it in the summer… I think that’s when rhubarb comes out haha. I’m so unaware of rhubarb season.

  5. [...] often, and if I do, it is usually incorporated into my meal. I’ve made a few stand-alone tofu recipes, and that was even before I went vegan. [...]

  6. Ellen Lederman said, on February 25, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    It’s official! Thanks to you, I lost my rhubarb virginity. But it was rough going for a while. When I started to chop the rhubarb, I sampled a piece and was completely turned off. What an odd flavor! I didn’t want to continue making the sauce. Andy convinced me to make it since we love all your recipes. Amazing what the rest of the ingredients and some heat can do! Love the sauce.

    But you are definitely a more sophisticated eater/cook than I am because I could never have it raw in a salad like I saw you did.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on February 25, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      Hey Ellen, You are too kind! I don’t think I’ve had rhubarb since my spree back then. We tried to grow rhubarb last year but it died a horrible death.

      So happy that you liked it – this was definitely one of my favourite dishes with rhubarb. Oddly enough, that raw rhubarb salad wasn’t as sour as you might think! Something about slicing it thin and probably the salt/dressing. :)

  7. [...] Tofu with a Zesty Rhubarb Sauce and Garlicky Kale [...]


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