I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, but as we start the new year, I do have one goal that I’d like to work on during the coming months. I’d like to take the flavors of my sauces to a higher level. I hope to learn about new flavors and ingredients and experiment with ways to incorporate them into familiar dishes or some of my old favorites. And I want to start using flavors and ingredients that I’m familiar with in bolder, more confident ways.
So looking at the ingredient list below, this doesn’t seem like much of a start. But the combination and assertiveness of these flavors, particularly the fish sauce, transforms this fried rice into a fantastic yet simple dinner. I’ve used fish sauce before (mostly homemade pad thai), but it’s an ingredient I don’t use often. Even as I added it to my rice dish here, it produced a strong scent, and I worried I’d been too ambitious and used too much. But not the case. It turned out just fabulously. Here’s hoping future attempts go just as well.
Tofu Pan-Fried Rice
Serves 2 (as a main) or 4 (as a side)
3 ounces baked tofu, cut into small, bite-size cubes
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups cooked brown rice
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tofu cubes. Allow the tofu to cook for a few minutes, letting the sides crisp and brown before stirring. Remove the tofu from the oil and set aside.
2. Add the second tablespoon of peanut oil to the skillet and allow to heat through. When the oil is hot, add the brown rice to the skillet, stirring to prevent sticking. After 3-4 minutes, push the rice to the sides of the pan. Add the garlic to the center of the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the fish sauce and soy sauce, stirring to combine.
3. Create another open nest in the center of the pan. Crack the egg into the center and stir briskly to scramble slightly. When the egg cooks, begin to incorporate the rice, allowing the ingredients to mix evenly. Return the tofu to the pan and top with the chopped cilantro.