Cole slaw with crispy tofu

While most St.Patty’s Day celebrators were probably pairing their cabbage with some corned beef and boiled potatoes, I decided to chop mine into a nice cold slaw. I do enjoy cabbage cooked, but I also love it’s sweet crunchy flavor when it is raw, and think the leaves’ grooves and ridges absorb a cole slaw dressing well.

I sliced and diced half of a cabbage head and poured over it a sweet and spicy Asian marinade that I love. Any sweet and sour sauce would do! If you like spice, shake in some red pepper flakes. Funk cooked up some whole wheat couscous to add to the slaw and we let it cool in the fridge since we were making this dish a cold one. For the protein part, I wanted to add some fried tofu. Have you ever been to an Asian restaurant and the tofu is perfectly chewy, seasoned and lightly fried? It’s nothing like the raw block of bland tofu you buy in stores. How do they do it!? I learned how at a recent cooking class.

Start with enough canola oil (high in heart-healthy fats!) to generously coat the bottom of a pan. Heat it on high heat until the oil starts to bubble and sizzle. Meanwhile, press as much moisture as you can out of the tofu (see note) and cut it into cubes.
Once the oil is hot, tilt the pan away from you and very gently place the tofu into the pan trying not to splatter hot oil on you! Once the tofu has landed in the pan, let it sit – untouched! – for anywhere between 5-10 minutes while it turns golden brown on the bottom. Sprinkle a mixture of salt and pepper over the tofu or any other seasonings you’d like. Once the bottom has fried nicely, flip the tofu (careful of splattering!) and cook the other side for another 5-10 minutes.
After our tofu was crispy and golden, I removed it from the heat and placed it on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up some excess oil. Once it cooled, I mixed it into the coleslaw and couscous mixture. This easy combination of crispy cabbage, crispy tofu and whole wheat couscous made a well-rounded one dish meal.
Tofu note: Remove the block of firm or extra firm tofu from it’s package and drain the water. Place the tofu block on a plate in the sink, and place another plate on top of it. Then balance something heavy (I used a cutting board) on the top plate to lightly squeeze out excess moisture from the tofu. Then cut and cook the tofu.

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