Monday, March 5, 2012

Seared Bean Sprouts with Tofu and Sesame Orange Sauce

It always makes me a bit sad when people tell me that they can't cook. They are often people who love to eat, but are intimidated by the kitchen and the contents of their fridge. 
We often seem to think that some people are just born with it - it being a talent for drawing, painting, writing, photography, or cooking. I used to think that way, too. I tried many things, always looking for the one thing I was inherently good at. Oh well, what a waste of time it was. 
I learnt a lot in the last year of blogging and cooking and living. I learnt how to cook tofu, because you really can't just treat it like it is meat. I learnt that I can live with less pasta in my life. I learnt that I can change things up in recipes for baked goods, too. I learnt that pistachio seed oil makes everything heavenly (if only it wasn't that expensive). And I still have so much to learn and to explore. Wonderful.
I really hope the Food Matters Project can show some people how easy it is to adapt a recipe. Make it yours.
This weeks recipe,  Seared Bean Sprouts with Beef and Sesame Orange Sauce, was chosen by Dominica from Wine Food Love. Go over to her post to check out the original recipe, and to the Food Matters Project homepage to find all the other takes on this recipe. It is a really easy recipe, but the way I prepare the tofu takes a bit more time than the original version with beef. You could omit the additional step and just marinate the tofu in a bit of the sesame orange sauce for some time in the fridge.

Seared Bean Sprouts with Tofu and Sesame Orange Sauce

250g tofu, I use aburaage, which is fried tofu, I prefer the texture it has to regular tofu. If you can't find that or don't want to use fried tofu: freezing regular tofu makes it a bit more chewy, so I would recommend freezing regular tofu for at least 24 hours if you want to use it. For more information on tofu, check out Just Hungry.

3 oranges, juice of the three, zest of only two
2 tbsp sesame
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound bean sprouts
3 carrots, cut into thin strips/julienne
1 winter radish, cut into thin slices, optional
1 bunch scallions, the white and green parts chopped separately
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey (use maple syrup or sugar to make it vegan)

Put a pot of water on medium heat, add the juice of one orange, some salt and the slices of tofu. Cook it for at least 15 minutes, then drain it and pat it dry. Cut into strips. Prepare the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, the honey and the remaining juice and zest of the oranges.
Preheat a pan on medium-high heat and toast the sesame seeds for about 3-5 minutes until brown and fragrant. Set aside, then add the sesame oil to the pan.
Add the tofu strips and cook them on both sides until browned. Set aside. 
Add the vegetable oil, the carrots and the white parts of the scallions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the bean sprouts. Sauté for 2-3 minutes longer. Add the tofu and the sauce, sautéing until everything is cooked through and warm. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the winter radish if using. Add pepper to taste, then garnish with sesame seeds and the green parts of the scallions.

Serves 4,


  1. Oh! Tofu, carrots, and radish... all good stuff. I love, love, love your pictures... gorgeous!

  2. I agree- cooking is a learning process and I believe given enough time (and desire) everyone can learn! Great take and lovely photos!

  3. Learning to cook tofu right is definitely a good skill to have! And fried is definitely better.

    I feel like I learn so much every time I cook and it's great to look back and see how much I've grown and changed. Love these insights of yours.

  4. Yum! Tofu tofu and radish look wonderful!!! I just learned about freezing tofu this year but love the technique - great tip!

  5. I rarely make tofu for myself these days; I'm just not that crazy about the stuff. But cooking it in orange juice sounds like it's worth a try! Does it absorb a lot of orange flavour in the process?

    Glad that you've been learning so much through blogging. It's one of the reasons I've kept it up--it definitely challenges you to do new things!

    1. It did absorb some of the flavour, but the sauce adds most of the flavour. Have you tried the fried tofu before? I really prefer the texture it has to regular firm tofu, but don't eat that much of it either.