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Chile-Rubbed Tofu and Onions over Spanish Rice

Rice and spice. Those two words describe my favorite foods. It doesn’t matter if it’s Indian, Spanish or Asian, any dish with rice and spice is a winner with me.
I love all types of rice – well, ok, not all types. I don’t like risotto. Even though I made a yummy one (recipe here), I don’t like my rice wet and mushy. Spanish rice is my favorite. Whenever I make it, I tend to do it a bit differently. Sometimes I add green olives, sometimes I add vegetables and sometimes, vegan sausage. Mmmm.
This recipe is for my quick Spanish rice that works as a side dish for a flavor-packed entree. Since the tofu has so much flavor, the rice just needs to be tasty. It shouldn’t compete with the tofu for top billing.
I always use short-grain brown rice. It takes longer to cook but it’s healthier than white rice. And if you start the rice first, it will be done by the time you finish the main dish. Turmeric turns brown rice into pretty yellow rice.
The chile paste for the tofu is quick and easy to make. You can decide how spicy you want it. One tablespoon of chile powder will give you a bit of heat but not be too spicy. If you want it less spicy, use 2 tsp. and if you want it more spicy, go for it. The onions add a great texture and depth of flavor but if onions are not your thing, you can skip them.
When the tofu cooks, the paste gives it a beautiful crispy, caramelized, mouthwatering coating. I’m getting hungry again just writing about it.
My Chile-Rubbed Tofu and Onions over Spanish Rice is a delicious meal. It’s got rice, it’s got spice. It’s vegan and gluten-free. It’s perfect. Enjoy!

Chile-Rubbed Tofu and Onions over Spanish Rice

For the Spanish Rice:
2 cups short-grain brown rice
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. turmeric
2 Tbs. fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs. green bell pepper, chopped
For the Chile-Rubbed Tofu with Onions
1 extra-firm block tofu, pressed and drained
1 ½  large onions
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbs. chile powder, more or less to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground oregano
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup water
2 Tbs. canola oil
2 Tbs. fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
Lime slices, optional
Rinse the rice and add it to a medium-sized saucepan. Add 4 cups of water, salt, pepper, cumin and turmeric. Heat it over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Cover the saucepan, lower the heat and let the rice simmer for 30-35 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the parsley or cilantro and the bell pepper. Fluff with a fork and taste for seasoning adjustments.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the tofu. Cut the tofu into 8 slices. In a food processor, add ½ an onion that is chopped into large pieces. Add the garlic to the food processor. Add the chile powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cloves. Add 1/3 cup of water and process into a smooth paste.
Cut the remaining onion into thin slices. Place the tofu in a shallow bowl and brush both sides with the chile paste. Add the sliced onions to the bowl and toss to coat with the chile paste. Make sure the tofu and onions are well coated. Let the tofu sit until the rice is ready. If you are not making the rice (or not making brown rice), let the tofu marinate for at least 20 minutes.
When the rice is ready, heat 2 Tbs. of oil in a large skillet. Cook the tofu and the onions until they are well-browned on all sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your skillet.
To serve: spoon the rice into bowls. Top with slices of tofu and onions. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro. Serve with lime slices, if desired.

The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.

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5 Responses to Chile-Rubbed Tofu and Onions over Spanish Rice

  1. Rhea Parsons April 30, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    I never say serving sizes because everyone eats differently. My husband and I can easily eat this whole dish. For most people, my recipes could feed 3 or 4. I think the best way to know is to decide how many people in your family can eat from one block of tofu.

  2. Anonymous April 30, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    How many people does this dish serve?

  3. Veggie Diva (Kimberly Moore) April 15, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Omg I think this would be amazing with chipotle chili powder. I almost bought a huge bag of it at Whole Foods today!

  4. Val April 2, 2013 at 3:07 am #

    Oh, want to know the secret to perfectly, fast cooking brown rice?
    We discovered a few years ago that if you boil it like pasta, it cooks in 25 minutes. Fluffy and delicious!

  5. Val April 2, 2013 at 3:04 am #

    This looks so good!

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