What could possibly be better than a giant bowl of fried rice? Coconut Fried Rice, clearly. The richness and creaminess of the coconut brown rice, red pepper, onions, and peas, all topped with baked tofu bites and roasted cashews, I mean really, what isn’t there to like about fried rice? I know, pick me! All that oil, right? Not to fear my friends, this entire batch that serves 4- 6 peeps only uses 1 tablespoon of oil, so “fried” isn’t even really an accurate word. In fact if you are all savvy at oil free sautéing then you don’t even need any oil at all. Yes, it’s true, fried rice CAN be healthy! Not only is there a lack of frying, but I used brown rice, and because it’s cooked in coconut milk, it gets incredibly soft and creamy. You really wouldn’t even notice it was brown rice. For someone who isn’t crazy about brown rice (but knows it’s better for me) that’s a very good thing.
In Jamaica they make rice with coconut milk, which is where I took the inspiration from, but usually they just add beans and call it a day. No day calling here, this is a rice of love. Yep, I admit there are several steps and it isn’t the quickest of meals, but the good news, you can make a lot of it in advance. You can make to coconut rice, tofu, and cashews ahead of time, and just freshly sauté the vegetables and then mix everything together and heat through.
Coconut Fried Rice
For the Tofu:
1 Block Extra Firm Tofu
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
For the Coconut Rice:
1 1/2 Cups Brown Rice
1 Can Regular Coconut Milk + Water to make 3 cups of liquid
For the Cashews:
1 Cup Raw Cashews (or save a step and buy roasted unsalted cashews)
For the Veggies:
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil or Canola Oil
1 Medium Onion
1 Medium Red Pepper
3 Cloves Garlic
2 teaspoons Grated Ginger
2 teaspoons Curry Powder
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
Preheat your oven to 325 F (170C). Drain and press the tofu. Chop into cubes and then toss in a bowl with the soy sauce. Let marinate for about 10 minutes or until the soy sauce absorbs into the tofu.
Spread the cubes on a lightly grease baking tray and pop in the oven for 45 minutes, stopping midway to flip them.
Rinse the rice and drain. Then add the coconut milk and water. If you have a rice cooker, cook it in there. If not, put the rice in a medium sauce pan with the coconut milk and water. Cover and put on high heat. As soon as the rice comes to a boil reduce heat to low and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Check every now and then to see that all the liquid is sucked up. Once it is, your rice is done. If your rice is cooked but there is still liquid left, just remove the lid and stir so the remaining liquid evaporates. Your rice will be all creamy and yummy.
When your tofu is done, remove from the oven and set aside. It’s kind of impossible not to eat a million of these tofu bites straight from the oven. Andrew and I have the burned mouths to prove it. You have been warned.
If you are using raw cashews, you can quickly roast them. Remove the tofu from the baking pan, and spread out the cashews. Pop back in the oven for about 10 minutes until they golden brown.
On to the veggies, chop the onions, red pepper, and garlic, and grate the ginger (or finely mince).
Heat a big pan and add the oil. Sautee the onions for about 5 minutes until they become translucent. Add the red pepper and continue to sautee until the onions brown and the red pepper is cooked. Add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder and sautee for a minute to toast the spices and brown the garlic. Now add the rice, tofu, cashews, soy sauce and frozen peas and mix it all up. Heat through, and serve while hot.
Feature Ingredient: Coconut Milk! 81 Recipes, 240 Days to go.