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