Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry with a Chili Sauce – FODMAPs, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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The following recipe is quick and easy, and uses a simple chili sauce to give the flavours a little oomph. The first time we made it was early on in Ev’s stint as a vegetarian, and we boiled (for 10 minutes) and cut up two corn cobs into 2 inch chunks before stir frying them with the rest of the veggies. He coined the phrase “vegetarian ribs” for the corn cobettes and it has stuck.

For this post I omitted the corn – as I know that many of you following a low FODMAPs diet have issues with it unless it is in meal or starch form – and replaced it with the tofu. If you want to add the corn back in, rather than/as well as the tofu, then feel free.

Notes:

  1. If you use castor sugar, 4 tbsp. should be plenty. Dextrose is less sweet than sucrose, so you might need to add a little more to taste.
  2. You can play around with ratios in this sauce, as in any sauce, to make the flavour combinations you prefer best.
  3. If you wish to try the original version I mentioned, with sweet corn on the cob, please be aware that sweet corn contains polyols, so it might trigger your FM symptoms.

Simple Stir Fry

Serves 2 adults.

Chili Sauce

  • 6 tbsp. GF soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp. rice wine
  • 4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. chili paste sans onions/garlic
  • 4 tbsp. castor sugar/dextrose – to taste
  • 1″ freshly minced ginger – approx. 2 tsp.
  • 2 tsp. corn starch

Other Ingredients

  • 1 cup extra firm tofu
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 small head bok choy
  • 2/3 cup uncooked white rice

Firstly, place all your sauce ingredients in a jar – with a well fitting lid – and shake until they are combined. This might take a little effort to combine the cornstarch properly – I find that adding the cornstarch into the half of the soy sauce and stirring vigorously, before any of the other ingredients are added in, is a faster process.

Begin cooking your rice as per the instructions on this page. You can use a rice cooker if you have one – we have had rotten luck with rice cookers and the best rice we have made has only been since our rice cooker died 2 years ago. This cooking process takes 30 minutes, so get it going early to avoid a delay later on.

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Now that your rice has started cooking, dice the zucchini, capsicum and the tofu into 1 inch chunks, and julienne the carrots so that they are appropriate for chop stick use. Slice the bok choy so that you separate the stalk from the leaves. Dice the stalks into 1 inch chunks and the leaves into strips. Sit them aside. You should begin the process of cooking the tofu/veggies when the rice only has 10 minutes left, otherwise you will have either cold rice and hot vegetables, or vice versa.

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Seal a saucepan (or a wok if you have one) with olive oil and quickly sear the vegetables over a high heat. Stir frying is all about cooking quickly over a high heat, rather than stewing slowly over a lower heat.

After a minute, add in the chili sauce and tofu continue to cook for another minute, slowly folding the sauce and tofu through – tofu requires gentle handling and it shouldn’t take long to begin to thicken, once the heat activates the cornstarch. Once you see it thickening, remove the dish from the heat and add in the bok choy leaves, mixing through.

If you have timed it correctly, the rice should also be done. Perfect! If your vegetables are a little too well done – i.e. they don’t retain much of a crunch – then don’t worry. It can take a little practice to get this right and not be worried about the veggies not being fully heated through. Mine still don’t turn out perfectly every time, so stress less. Practice makes perfect, even for something as simple as stir frying veggies.

If you want the sauce to be much thicker, then pre-thickening it in a small sauce pan would be the way to go. Bring it to the boil and simmer until it visibly thickens, before removing it from the heat and setting it aside to wait for the veggies.

You have a couple of options for serving:

  1. Pour the vegetable and tofu mix into a serving dish and give everybody a serving of rice in a bowl. People can then take what they want with their chop sticks – this prevents the rice from getting soggy if too much sauce soaks in.
  2. Place a serving of rice in a bowl and top with vegetables/tofu. Just make sure you don’t let too much extra sauce go in or the rice will get too mushy for easy chop-sticking.

You can see I chose option #2, because I was photographing it – we normally would go with option #1.

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