Things You Can Caramelize

What food comes to mind when you think of caramelizing? Let’s see… there’s onions, shallots, nuts, apples, creme brulee, etc. Have you ever considered tofu?

I know it’s a bit odd, but hear me out! Tofu is one of those foods that might require some extra coaxing for folks to try. But perhaps caramelizing them to give them more depth, flavor and color will help you to consider trying this recipe for Caramelized Tofu.

For lunch today we wanted to use up some bok choy and tofu we purchased last week. Thanks to my friend, Elly, she shared the site of 101 Cookbooks with me for a pancake recipe. On the same site, my eyes found this dish. I made some adaptations to use what I had on hand and overall, its a great way to use tofu. It made the tofu both sweet and salty – a great combination for most foods. To pair with this, I served it with steamed vegetable dumplings and a simple homemade ponzu sauce.


Here is my adaption of Caramelized Tofu with Bok Choy:

7 – 8 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into thin 1-inch segments
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple sprays of cooking spray
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
3-4 baby bok choy , washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons
salt & pepper to taste
few drops of sesame oil

Cook the tofu strips in large hot skillet (or pot) with a bit of salt and a sprays of cooking spray. Saute until slightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in sugar. Cook for another couple of minutes.

In the same pan, add a touch more sprays of cooking spray, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the chopped bok choy. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until softened.

Return the tofu to the pan with the bok choy and toss together with salt, pepper and sesame oil before serving.

Serves 2 – 3 as a main, 4 as a side

*I’m also submitting this to the Bookmarked Recipes blogging event, hosted by Ruth of Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments. This is a great weekly blogging event so join in the fun or check out the round up every Monday on Ruth’s site!*

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The Nutty Tilapia…

If there is a recipe that I’ve been so delayed in making, it’s this one. Something always came up – dinner out, errands, laziness… But finally, tonight’s dinner will be the long awaited Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia. The last time I had prepared this was for my birthday luau about 3 months ago. We loved it back then that we wanted to make it again. This time, I served it with sesame bok choy and king oyster mushrooms. It’s light, flavorful and great for hot summer nights.

Here’s my recipe for Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia:
4 frozen tilapia fillets
1-2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup crushed macadamia nuts
1/2 panko breadcrumbs
salt & pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk eggs with water for egg wash.
In a shallow baking pan, combine the nuts, breadcrumbs, salt & pepper.
Dip each tilapia fillet in the eggwash and dredge in the nut/breadcrumb mixture until fully coated.
Plate coated fish on a plate and chill for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Place coated fish on a light greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

Here’s my recipe for Baby Bok Choy & King Oyster Mushroom Saute:

3-4 baby bok choy bunches
1 1/2 cups king oyster mushrooms (or any kind of mushroom)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil

Heat large skillet or wok over high heat.
Meanwhile, prep your veggies by cutting bottoms of the bok choy and rinsing any debris between the stalks. Cut off the green tops and set aside.
For the mushrooms, slice them and if you prefer, remove stems.
When skilley or wok is hot, add oil to coat the bottom.
Add garlic, ginger and bok choy bottoms (not the green leafy tops!).
Stir until stalks are softened; then add mushrooms.
Stir until mushrooms start to brown and soften.
Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and salt & pepper to taste.
Stir and then add bok choy greens.
Remove from heat, add sesame oil and toss until greens wilt.

*I’m also submitting this dish to the Original Recipes blogging event hosted by Lore of Culinarty. This is one of my fave blogging events each month because it showcases the creativity of so many bloggers. Check out the round up mid month!