a little inspiration from my ex-colleague..

My girlfriend aka ex-colleague, Ronda, showed me a photo the other day.  She told me that one of our ex-colleagues, Clare, has recently switched to a vegetarian diet.  And that photo got stuck in my head for days and this recipe is especially dedicated to Clare.  I hope this could help her find vegetarian home cooking more enjoyable.  I actually got inspired by her cooking.  She used dry bean curd with shredded carrots and fungus.  That sounded super delicious to me.  

I haven't got time to do grocery shopping these few days.  So I just used whatever I could gather in my kitchen and I also stole some chinese kale from my mom's fridge.  Heh.  I whipped up some healthy and tasty fried brown rice to go with my tofu and chinese kale this afternoon.  I think the highlight here was my sweet and spicy lime sauce.  The fresh lime juice gave a kick and elevated the taste of the entire combination.  I really wish I could change many people's misperception about vegetarian dishes being tasteless and boring because that is absolutely not true.  There are so many ways to cook vegetables and taste good at the same time.  And I've been using the same few ingredients over and over again.  All we need is an open mind with a tiny bit of creativity. :) 

This was Clare's dinner the other night.  That bean curd looks pretty good to me.  :) With a little courage and motivation, we can definitely change a boring dish to become a vibrant meal! 

This dish is packed with flavors because I combined many fresh ingredients such as lime, honey, and ginger.  

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes


For fried rice:        

2 bowls cooked brown rice

1/2 bowl cooked corn

1/2 bowl edamame

1/2 onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp minced ginger

1-2 tbsp chopped spring onion and coriander

extra-virgin olive oil

For Chinese Kale: 

100-150g Chinese Kale

1/2 vegetarian stock tablet

1 shallot

1-2 garlic cloves

extra-virgin olive oil

For crispy tofu: 

150g hard tofu, squared

1 egg* 

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 green chili, finely chopped

1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

* some leftover egg can be used for making the fried rice

For the sweet and spicy lime sauce:

1/2 lime juice

1-2 tsp honey

1-2 tsp mirin

2 tbsp soy sauce

1-2 tbsp chopped spring onion

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 red chili, finely chopped

1/2 green chili, finely chopped

Instructions for fried rice: 

1) To make the fried brown rice, heat up a frying pan on medium heat.  Add onion and ginger, cook for 3 minutes.  Reduce heat if the vegetables start to burn.  

2) Add corn and edamame, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add brown rice.  Season.  Add the remaining egg mixture that was used to make the crispy tofu to the rice*.  Cook 3-5 minutes.  Heat off .  Set aside. 

Instructions for crispy tofu: 

1) Mix breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, 1/2 chili, and sesame seeds in a medium size bowl. Season.  Mix well.  

2) Whisk an egg in another bowl, coat the tofu with egg first then follow by coating with breadcrumbs.  Set aside. 

3) Preheat a frying pan with oil on medium heat, cook the tofu for 1-2 minutes then turn to the other side and cook for 1 minute.  (Make sure you don’t burn the tofu.  If your oil is too hot, then reduce your heat) 

Instructions for chinese kale:

1) Preheat a frying pan with oil on medium heat, add garlic and shallot.  Cook 1-2 minutes. 

2) Add chinese kale and vegetable stock.  Add 1/4 cup water.  Put the lid on and let the vegetables steam for 5 minutes.  Stir a bit in mid way to make sure the vegetables are cooked evenly.  Reduce heat if necessary. 

Instructions for the sweet and spicy lime sauce:

1) Just mix everything in a small bowl.   

2) Serve it with fried rice, chinese kale, and crispy tofu.  Garnish your dish with spring onion and coriander.