Sweet & Spicy

February 7th, 2012

by Jennifer Hwang, Contributing Writer

We’re in the homestretch now—I hope everyone is settled into the yogi diet and feeling much better than when they started. I have to admit, I took a little “time-out” this last week, celebrating a friend’s birthday in New Orleans. Let me just say, it’s nearly impossible to be on this cleanse while you’re there. Luckily, what happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans. . .

The first year I did this yogi diet, I followed every rule to an extreme. When I would accidentally eat something not on the diet, I’d feel a sense of having “failed” or done something “wrong.” But then I realized that the point of this diet isn’t to punish yourself or feel bad about yourself—it’s not a dogmatic following of the rules that’s important. What is important is being conscious of what you’re putting into your body and recognizing what the end result of ingesting it may be. So if you did “go off the wagon” every now and then, it’s not anything to feel bad about—I hope you just got back on and kept going.

Back in the saddle

With that in mind, I’m back on the yogi diet. I thought it might be a hard transition, but it wasn’t. It’s almost like this diet is “normal” now and what happened in New Orleans was a big exception. Believe me, that wasn’t always the case. However, I am craving something with big flavor after that trip—and for me, that means something spicy. I adapted this recipe from a recipe for shrimp, made a few adjustments for the bland nature of tofu, and voilà “orange black pepper tofu.” If you like your food a little less spicy, use less black pepper. It’s spicy but sweet and a little tart, too. Make sure you’re using a pure orange juice (not from concentrate) for this. Hope you enjoy it!

Orange Black Pepper Tofu

12 oz of extra firm tofu

1 TB of black peppercorns, crushed (I put the peppercorns in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin)

1 cup of fresh orange juice

1 TB of fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Tamari (gluten-free, soy sauce) to taste

Oil for frying

Remove tofu from packaging—cover plate with paper towels and place the tofu on top to drain for 15 minutes. You can put weight on top of the tofu to remove more water. After drained, cut tofu into ½ inch cubes.

Meanwhile, pour orange juice into a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overflow. When reduced, take off heat and mix in tamari to taste.

Cover bottom of a heavy frying pan with ½ inch of oil. Heat oil on high—add tofu when oil is hot (tofu should start to sizzle immediately when added). Fry until crispy on all sides. You’ll probably have to do this in batches. Remove tofu from pan and mix with the crushed peppercorns. Set aside.

Drain most of the oil from the pan, add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Add tofu and pepper into pan, mix and cook for a minute. Add reduced orange juice and cook until the sauce starts to thicken a little. Remove tofu and reduce sauce further until it’s the consistency you like.  Adjust seasonings, pour over tofu and eat!






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