Two of my favorite foods – tofu and sugar snap peas. Tofu, because it is so versatile and soaks up the flavor of anything you make it with, and sugar snap peas because they snap, crunch, and pop in your mouth when you eat them. We eat tofu a couple times a week at home, and this is an easy way to make it – with caramelized onions in a soy-honey-garlic glaze so good that the tofu just sucks it all up in the last stages of cooking.
I kind of consider myself a flexitarian – I try to eat a few meatless meals each week. I’ve never quite been the one to say, “Oooohh, meat!” when it came to a barbeque. I think that the idea of a churascaria is a-scary-a (bad joke) and a waste of money if you took me along, and I have only cooked beef once since we’ve lived here in Hawaii (almost a year). I have nothing against beef and like it just fine – after all, all foods fit into a healthy lifestyle, but I just don’t crave it, and only eat it once in awhile when we go out to eat and a cheeseburger sounds good at the time, especially after a long day at the beach.
And no, for those of you who feel bad for my husband because I’m not slapping a 16-ounce steak on the grill every week, he’s always been a veggie lover, and was cooking like that before we got married . You can still get enough protein from other plant sources and at the same time be competitive in the regular physical fitness exams that he has to do every so often. It’s all about eating everything in moderation. Also, tofu is a good source of calcium for those who are lactose-intolerant, and low in saturated fat compared to their meaty counterparts. Another plus: by eating a couple meatless meals a week, you’re lowering your carbon footprint a little more by being more green and eco-friendly to the environment.
Caramelized Tofu and Sugar Snap Peas
1 package extra-firm tofu, cut into long thin slices per preference
1 small yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups sugar snap peas
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
2 dried red chilis, optional for garnish
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 Tbsp of canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the tofu. Saute the tofu, about 7-8 minutes, until golden-brown. Transfer to a medium plate. Add another 1 Tbsp of oil to the pan if the pan if needed. Add the onions, sauteing until the onions begin to wilt and caramelize.
2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, soy sauce, honey, water, sesame seeds, and black pepper. When the onions are slightly browned, add the tofu back into the pan. Turn the heat off; add the soy sauce mixture and red chilis and combine all ingredients to evenly coat the tofu with the sauce. The tofu is done when the sauce stops bubbling and has evenly coated all ingredients.
3. In a small pan over medium heat, heat 2 Tbsp of water. When the water boils, add the sugar snap peas, and stir, cooking for about 3-4 minutes until hot. The goal is not to overcook; we want them hot but still crisp. When the veggies are hot, transfer to a bowl and toss with the sesame oil.
Serve the tofu and sugar snap peas with brown rice or noodles. Perfect meal!