It’s a truism in life that things get better with practice. It takes some effort to learn how to eat less meat. You have to replace old eating habits with new ones. Nowadays I’m comfortable using veggie sources of protein but that wasn’t the case when I first started blogging. Back then I posted several recipes with the suggestion to substitute tofu for another type of protein. Such was the case the first time I shared this recipe for a delicious orange stir fry sauce. It is extremely versatile and tastes great with just about anything. Since it’s Meatless Monday, we’re going to pair it with tofu.
To make this version I fried the tofu first then stir fried some sliced onions, carrots and peppers in the same pot. After the veggies were cooked, I pushed them to the side and finished the sauce in the center.
To make the sauce you’ll need to supreme the orange. That means to remove the sections from the membrane like you see in nice fruit salads. Here’s a great video demonstrating how to do this. You’ll need to zest the orange before cutting the supremes to capture as much flavor from the orange as possible.
- 2 medium oranges
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar (add more if necessary)
- 2 tablespoons honey (you can easily add more, depending on your taste)
- pinch red pepper flake
- ½ cup orange juice or juice of a third orange (optional to increase the volume if necessary)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot mixed with 2 teaspoons water for thickening
- 1 pound tofu, pressed and cut into triangles
- oil for frying the tofu
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion, sliced into petals
- 2 medium carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 peppers, cut into strips (I used red and green)
- other vegetables as desired
- Rice for four to six servings.
- To make the sauce, you'll need a pie plate or something similar to catch the zest and juices of the oranges. Zest each orange over the pie plate. Then, use a sharp knife to remove the rest of the peel. Cut out the sections from the membrane, allowing the juice to run into the plate. (See the video in the text for a demonstration.) Save the fruit, juice and zest for the sauce.
- In a small sauce pan, heat the rice wine vinegar, honey and red pepper flake to boiling. Then add the zest, orange supremes and juice. Add more orange juice if necessary to increase the volume of the sauce. Simmer until the mixture reduces slightly.
- Meanwhile, coat the bottom of the pan with oil and fry the tofu until nicely browned on all sides. Remove to a plate.
- If serving with rice, start it now. Keep an eye on it throughout the process.
- Add more oil if necessary and stir fry the onions, carrots and peppers.
- When the vegetables are crisp-tender, return the tofu to the pan and push the contents towards the edges of the skillet, making a well in the center. Pour the orange sauce into the well.
- If you want to thicken the sauce further add the slurry of cornstarch and water to the well, and stir to combine. The sauce will thicken and take on a nice sheen. Mix everything together to coat.
- Reduce the heat to low and hold until the rice has finished cooking.
So now I’ve come to the part where I can tell you how easy it is to use whatever veggies you have available and to substitute your favorite protein for the tofu. I hope you’ll choose a vegetarian option for Meatless Monday. You can visit the original post for more suggestions but please, avert your eyes from the photos! It turns out that food blog photography also requires practice and I’m still on the learning curve. I struggled in the original post to make Photoshop cooperate with me to make the graphics. Then after publishing, I met my first heckler on Facebook. I’m still proud of the way I handled that situation.
What are you having for Meatless Monday?