Sometimes when I’m writing recipes, I remember the infinite monkey theorem, whereby, if a monkey hit a keyboard randomly for an infinite amount of time, it would eventually type The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Occasionally, I feel like that monkey, with ingredients instead of keys, and it can be a wonderful surprise when they alchemise into something more delicious than you ever imagined. Today’s recipe was intended to be a riff on a simple Chinese home-cooking favourite, egg and tomato stir-fry, but it turns out that the tofu doesn’t taste like a replacement for the egg, or inferior to it. It has just become its own new wonderful dish.
Tomato and tofu stir-fry with sesame rice
Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 2, generously
200g jasmine rice
1 tbsp sesame oil
Fine sea salt
6 spring onions, trimmed, white parts sliced and greens cut on an angle into 3cm lengths
280g firm tofu, drained and roughly torn into pieces
500g firm vine tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
2½ tbsp light soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
½ tbsp white miso
Black sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)
Put the rice in a sieve, rinse under the cold tap, drain, then tip into a medium saucepan for which you have a lid. Add the sesame oil and a half-teaspoon of salt, then add 350ml just-boiled water and bring to a boil. Pop on the lid, turn down the heat to a whisper and leave to simmer for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to rest – do not be tempted to lift the lid.
Put a plate by the side of the hob, ready for the tofu when it’s cooked, and fill a cup with 100ml cold water. Put two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat and, once hot, add the spring onion greens and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and stir for a minute, until the onions turn neon. Add the tofu, mash with a potato masher until it resembles scrambled eggs, then cook, stirring, for three minutes, until hot, and spoon out on to the plate.
Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and pour in another tablespoon of oil. When that’s very hot, add the tomato wedges and leave to cook for five minutes, stirring only once – you don’t want to break up their shape. Add the garlic and spring onion whites, gently stir and cook for another minute. Follow with the miso, soy sauce and the cup of water, stir gently and leave to bubble fiercely for three minutes. Finally, return the tofu to the pan, leave to simmer and bubble for five minutes, then take off the heat.
Scoop the rice into a large bowl and leave the stir-fry in the pan, furnish both with serving spoons and the rice with sesame seeds, and serve.