This meal was inspired by an 8 year old vegan. My daughter’s friend, Caycie, is the sweetest little girl, with a face like a porcelain doll, and has been a vegan as long as she remembers. There’s only one problem: she doesn’t like most vegetables! Also, she doesn’t like her food to touch other food. When I sat next to her on a field trip to Chinatown, I watched her carefully put rice on her plate, with a few peas several inches away and a carrot slice or two also set apart. I thought, what does she eat? The answer came many months later, when my daughter came home asking for coconut tofu with coconut rice. Caycie had given her a few bites of her lunch, and she wanted me to make it for dinner. I asked her how it tasted– was the tofu stewed in a coconut milk curry? No. Unsure of the recipe, my daughter said, “let’s look it up on Google images.” (Kids these days!) We did, and chose the recipe which most resembled Caycie’s lunch. I’ve paired it with brown rice steamed with coconut milk and aromatic spices. This is a delicious and satisfying vegan meal, served with a salad on the side. One day, I’ll get Caycie to eat the salad, too.
The tofu recipe is adapted from Living Beyond the Box’s Oven-Baked Coconut Tofu Bites .
Spiced Coconut Rice
2 cups brown rice
1 ½ c coconut milk
1 ½ c water
2 bay leaves
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
Combine all ingredients in the pot of a rice cooker and cook according to the rice cooker’s instructions. You can also make this on the stove by bringing all ingredients to a boil and then simmering, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove spices before serving.
Baked Coconut Tofu
1 lb organic tofu
1 ½ Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp shredded coconut
1. Drain tofu and press dry with paper towels.
2. Cut tofu into 1” cubes.
3. Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic powder and ground pepper in a Ziploc bag.
4. Gently place tofu cubes in the Ziploc bag, seal and shake to coat; marinate for at least 15 minutes,.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Spread coconut on a plate and dredge tofu cubes until evenly coated with coconut. Place tofu cubes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle remaining coconut on top. (Note: the leftover marinade makes an excellent dressing for salad greens, shredded kale or sliced cucumbers to serve as a side.)
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown . Serve with spiced coconut rice and sliced cucumbers or a side salad.