Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lemon quinoa and lemon tofu

Remember when I made those lemon-cashew-sesame truffle balls?

Also known as recipe one of three lemon recipes?

Today, we have recipes two and three.


I hope your taste buds are lemon ready.

Recipe two, lemon quinoa, isn't really a recipe at all. In fact, this is one of those dishes that would be perfect for a dinner party (presuming your guests like quinoa). The ratio between effort and output is very favourable indeed, and you end up with a dish that looks and tastes delightful with hardly any preparation required.


Simply cook 2/3 cup quinoa in 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 cup water. Add 1 small zucchini, roughly chopped, about 5 minutes before the quinoa is ready. Easy.

Recipe three, lemon tofu, requires a little more effort but is still quite easy to throw together.


As a disclaimer of sorts, this dish didn't fully match  my expectations. My expectations were crispy tofu pieces with a strong lemon flavour, similar to the lemon chicken one might get in a Chinese restaurant. I never liked lemon chicken much, but a tofu version was calling to me.

As it turns out, the tofu here wasn't particularly crispy and the lemon flavours were subtle rather than strong. I also realised after starting that my fresh ginger was, well, no longer fresh. This meant that I used dried ginger, which is not the same thing at all. 

Despite all of that, I still enjoyed the tofu. Frying it would rectify the crispy issue, if desired, and the flavour could be intensified by marinating the tofu for longer before cooking. Checking your ginger supplies before starting would be a sensible thing too.


I sweetened this with palm sugar, which I bought a month or so back but am still experimenting with. Palm sugar comes from the sap of palm trees, and is thus different to coconut sugar, which comes from the sap of flowers from coconut palms. The two sugars are quite similar in appearance, though, and can be used in similar ways. Palm sugar generally comes in solid lumps that require grating or chopping before use, and is similar-ish to brown sugar in taste.


I think this would go well with Asian greens, such as bok choi or gai lan. However, in my disorganised state, we didn't have any of those. I used carrots and water chestnuts instead, which worked well, but if I make this again I will use bok choi as well as fresh ginger.


Lemon tofu
Inspired by lemon chicken with a nod to this recipe and this recipe
Vegan
Serves 3

I made this without ginger and with carrot instead of bok choi, but I am listing what I would do in future


Ingredients
1 packet (350g) firm tofu, drained, sliced and pressed
1/2 cup lemon juice (the juice of 1 medium lemon)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp palm sugar, roughly chopped
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 small onion or 2 shallots, diced
1/2 cup water chestnuts (or vegetables of choice)
2 bok choi, chopped (or vegetables of choice)
Oil, to taste

Rice, to serve

Method
While your tofu is pressing, combine the lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, cornflour, palm sugar and vegetable stock in a small saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until approaching boiling point. When nearly boiling, reduce the heat and continue stirring for another 2 - 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Set the sauce aside and allow to cool until just warm.

Marinate the tofu in the lemon sauce for at least 30 minutes (preferably for longer).

When the tofu is nearly ready, heat oil in a non-stick pan and saute the onion until just soft. Add the tofu and cook until golden, turning occasionally. The crispiness will depend on how much oil you use.

Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside while you cook the vegetables. The tofu will crisp up on standing. When the vegetables are cooked, return the tofu to the pan and heat through for 5 - 10 minutes.




Do you enjoy lemon chicken / lemon tofu dishes? Prior to this, it had been years since I ate a lemon-focused main dish, but I am now keen to try this again with the ginger and bok choi additions.

35 comments:

  1. I never liked lemon chicken at Chinese restaurants (too gluggy and sweet!) but I love the sound of the lemon quinoa. I can eat lemons straight, so 1/2 cup lemon sounds awesome.

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    1. I didn't like Chinese lemon chicken either so I'm not sure why it called to me now! Still, lemon quinoa is a safe bet if you are after lemony lemonny :)

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  2. I love the sound of both recipes (even though the tofu wasn't crispy) but cooking quinoa in some lemon juice sounds like it would give the quinoa great flavour. I'll have to try this xx

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    1. I hope you enjoy the quinoa if you try it - it was a really simple way to cook it!

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  3. Um, I am totally making that quinoa! :) You know, I have never tasted tofu. What do you do if you don't have a tofu press?? I think that is the only reason I have never purchased it.;) Great recipes Kari!

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    1. Thanks Brandi :) On the tofu press thing, I don't have one either & you definitely don't have to have one! I put tofu between tea towels, with chopping boards either side & then cookbooks on top to press it. I'd try a non lemon tofu recipe first but it is a super versatile ingredient!

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    2. Thanks Kari! I am going to try that :)

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  4. I use lemons quite a bit in savoury food - I like the ease of the quinoa dish and the tofu one also appeals to me - though I am even more curious about palm sugar - have an unopened packet and am unsure of it so haven't used it yet - had it a while back and used it in a few asian dishes but can't remember which

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    1. Ooh, I'll look forward to hearing how you get on with your palm sugar in due course. I'm still a bit unsure of mine too!

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  5. Wow! I'm going to have to try that lemon quinoa recipe. I eat quinoa almost everyday and am always looking for different ways to enjoy it! I love that it's so simple!
    I'm a fan of citrus in savory foods. I love sweet and sour anything, orange sesame chicken, lemon ginger tofu...Ooh the addition of bok choi will be amazing!!

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    1. If you like quinoa and citrus, then the lemon quinoa may be a good match for you ;) I definitely have to make the lemon tofu again myself, with the bok choi this time...

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  6. Yum, I love recipes that use lemon! And quinoa and tofu are two of my favourite foods, so I'll have to try these out :)

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    1. Oh good! I hope you enjoy them Sarah :)

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  7. I wish I would have seen this earlier when my grandma was here. She would have loved this!

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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    1. You'll have to invite her back? :)

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  8. Mmmm, that lemon quinoa looks great.

    We make a delicious lemon and greek yoghurt chicken dish. The only issue is that the lemon curdles the yoghurt, so it isn't pretty. But pretty is easily outweighed by tasty!

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    1. I am always in favour of pretty outweighing tasty :) In fact, I might adopt it as my kitchen motto!

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  9. I love lemon and I love these!!
    First off, you are right about the quinoa dish. This looks so delicious and simple!
    I haven't made tofu in a while, and this looks like a great dish to throw back in the mix! :)

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    1. Thanks Kristen! I hope you enjoy them if you make them :)

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  10. Hi Kari, something I haven't had for a long time - think it might be time for a revisit!

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    1. It's definitely a good recipe to healthify at home - I shudder to think what is in traditional Chinese lemon chicken dishes (a lot of sugar and oil I suspect)!

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  11. I adore anything lemon and would happily eat both these dishes.

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  12. why yes i DO remember those and now i'm salivating over this one!!! hehe :)

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    1. Teehee, always happy to oblige where salivating over dishes is concerned!

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  13. We ate some seriously amazing lemon tofu dishes while in Hong Kong. But the lemon recipe we're eating at the moment is your lemon slice :) That lemon pudding on top is really yummy, and the whole recipe was a snap to put together. Love it.

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  14. Ooh, love that idea for lemon tofu! Seems like it would be much for "light" tasting and refreshing that my traditional peanut sauce soaked tofu!

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    1. It is definitely a lighter tofu dish. But now I'm keen on a peanut sauce version myself!

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  15. I refuse to eat takeout Chinese anymore so I'm going to have to try your lemon tofu to get my lemon sauce fix!

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    1. It's been a while since I've had it too. I suspect I would be a fan if I went for the traditional version again, so I'll be sticking to this option as well :)

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  16. I love the way something as simple as lemon can infuse so much flavor!

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  17. i just bought tofu from the market .. iam going to try that...especially with lemon

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