I don’t often tell you guys about the trickery behind food blogging. I’m here to tell you: IT’S ALL A SHAM!
Okay not really. I’m being dramatic. Sorry/not sorry. But seriously, there are things food bloggers do, for the sake of food blogging that other people either think are cray-cray or just roll their eyes at. Taking pictures of food at a restaurant: eye rolling. Taking a picture of your coffee and cute manicure (for instagram, duh): eye rolling. Using tweezers to move stray pieces of food before a shot: cray-cray? I use a “?” because I don’t actually think it’s crazy… but I can imagine some of you might! You can check out a whole list of household items Lindsay (from Pinch of Yum) uses for her food shots — you might say “CRAAY!” but: her pictures are gorgeous! So, it’s worth it.
Before your mind goes too far, I’ll just shut down any real fears you have: I never use super weird stuff like glue for milk, or epoxy for syrup (seriously, I’ve heard of weird weird stuff like this before). Everything I use in my pictures is what I *actually* eat — that is the entire point of this blog, right? All of this is really just a preamble to admit that the pictures in this post (of YUM YUM YUM ginger peanut hoisin tofu!!) are not what they seem!
Yes, I pulled some crazy witchcraft here on this dish. Why? Three reasons leading up to the big secret: First, it took me three weeks to find plain white bowls of a moderate size here in Ubud. Everything was either massive or tiny, and I want some normal sized bowls! Finally found them. Second, we don’t like having tons of leftovers here because things just don’t keep as well because we don’t yet have tupperware or appropriate storage containers for leftovers. Third, nobody wants to see a mostly-empty/normal-sized portion of food in a mouthwatering food photo. It’s just true! People want bulging bowls full of saucy yumminess!
So when making this dish, I made a moderate amount of rice to go along with it and therefore avoid having too many leftovers. This meant the bowls were nowhere near full. This is an issue. Usually, like with soup, I’d put a smaller bowl upside down in the bigger bowl to take up space… but I don’t have a smaller bowl of the right size! My next choice would be to ball up foil to take up space… but we don’t have any foil. So, friends, my big ol’ secret today, which really does not deserve a four-paragraph preamble, is that each of these dishes has an entire, whole ONION hiding in the middle of the rice. ONIONS! They actually worked perfectly, and then I just washed them off with dish soap (and lots of water) to put them back with the other onions and use at a later date! Perfect! And you’d never know by looking at the pictures, would you? Except now I’ve spent far too long talking to you about it and revealing all of my deep dark secrets. Still love me? I hope so! If you’re a food blogger, I’m SURE you also have some weirdo tricks you pull! Tell me what they are so we can be weirdos together!
Let’s talk about this tofu. It’s freaking amazing. It’s so flavorful, you won’t even know it isn’t meat. I say this as a total meat-lover: you will not miss the meat! That said, you could totally make this with chicken and it’d be awesome also. As I’ve been discovering, the secret to cooking really is all in the sauce! This recipe is easy to throw together, and is 100% about the sauce. Use any veggies you want! ENJOY!Print
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 3 Tbsp peanut butter
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 tsp of fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 1 package (14oz) of firm tofu
- 1 bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 carrot, sliced into thin rounds or half-moons
- ½ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup green onions, finely sliced
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2-3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- Cook the rice according to directions.
- While the rice is cooking, first make the sauce. Combine the ingredients, hoisin sauce through chopped ginger, in a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the tofu and squeeze out any excess moisture. Crumble the tofu into the skillet in thumb-sized pieces. Using a spatula, stir occasionally. The goal here is for it to sizzle and sear the tofu, drying it out a bit and browning it all around.
- Once the tofu is mostly browned, add the sauce. After a few minutes, add the sliced bell pepper, and sliced carrot. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the carrots are becoming tender and the sauce is slightly reduced.
- Remove from heat and serve over rice, topped with peanuts, green onions, bean sprouts, and sesame seeds.