Pan Fried Tofu with Chili Marinade and Stir Fried Vegetables – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

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One of Ev’s and my favourite restaurants is a Szechuan place about a 5 minute walk from our apartment. It’s dangerously close, so our rule is that we can’t buy dinner more than once a week. It’s right next to the sushi restaurant that we used to spend all our money at… for all our neighbourhood could never be described as the most desirable one out there, it is not lacking in cultural diversity, which makes for a great selection of restaurants… I just wish I could eat at more of them! But if I’m careful then it’s normally doable – I just need to research the menus beforehand.

One of the best meals we’re had at this restaurant is the “choose your meat and tofu dry pot;” They even let us do a “tofu and tofu” dry pot, though it’s not on the menu and we got a few confused looks. About a month ago we decided to replicate this meal at home, or at least try to. It worked out quite well, so we’ll definitely be making it again.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Tofu, while made from soy beans, mainly contains the proteins, so most fruct mals can tolerate a moderate serving of it. Make sure you only buy firm tofu, not silken tofu, which hasn’t been strained and is higher in the FODMAP galactans.
  2. Both chili paste and oil can sometimes contain garlic – make sure you read the labels and choose one without.
  3. The stir fry veggies that are shown below contain onion (Ev doesn’t have fruct mal); however it’s in such big chunks that it’s easy to pick out. This is fine for me, as I know my limits. If you are still on elimination, or are very sensitive to onion, do not cook with it in the pot to the end, as FODMAPs are water soluble and, if you do not stir fry properly (high heat, very fast) then water will leech out from the veggies, including fructans from the onion.
  4. Chinese five spice powder is low FODMAP in 1 tsp. serves, which is fine, because you normally don’t need more than that through an entire recipe.
  5. Garlic infused oil is FODMAP friendly.
  6. Sesame seeds are low FODMAP.

Pan Fried Tofu with Chili Marinade

Serves 3-4

  • 2 cups extra firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 cup soy sauce/tamari
  • 1/4 cup chili paste
  • 1/4 cup chili oil, make sure you get a good amount of seeds in there if you like it spicy
  • 1 tsp. 5 spice powder – see above
  • 1-2 tsp. of garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

About an hour and a half before you want to eat the tofu, slice them as shown and place them sandwiched between two chopping boards with paper towel in between, so that the layers go: chopping board, paper towel, tofu, paper towel, chopping board. Place a weight on top, it shouldn’t be more than a kilo. Leave the tofu like this for 20 minutes, so that as much of the liquid inside is squeezed out as possible. This allows it to soak up as much of the marinade as possible in the next step.

While you’re waiting, mix the soy sauce, chili oil, 5 spice powder and garlic infused oil together in a tall/narrow container and set aside. When the 20 minutes is up, carefully place each of the tofu slices in the marinade container, ensuring that they are fully covered, and leave it to soak up all the flavours for another half an hour. While this is marinading, wash the rice and prepare the vegetables for the stir fry listed below.

Once the marinading process is complete, remove the tofu and pat them down/wipe off as many seeds etc as you can. Seal a fry pan and pan fry the tofu over a medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes a side, until they are slightly crispy. Serve with a garnish of the toasted sesame seeds and dried red chili peppers.

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Stir Fried Vegetables and Chinese 5 Spice Rice

Serves 3-4

  • 4 cups of vegetables suitable for stir frying, such as julienned carrots, sliced zucchini, red capsicum etc – basically 1 cup per person
  • The left over marinade from the tofu dish above, with the garlic picked out if necessary
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Basmati rice, washed
  • 1-2 tsp. five spice powder – see “notes” above

Cook the rice according to these instructions, stirring in the 2 tsp. of 5 spice powder (bought or homemade with the recipe above in “notes”) before you bring it to the boil. This cooking process takes 30 minutes from the time you have finished washing the rice and it has come to the boil, so make sure you time it so that the individual dishes are done as close together as possible.

Stir fry the vegetables over a high heat for a minute (you want them still slightly crunch) before adding in the leftover marinade from the tofu dish. Keep on the heat for another 30 seconds or so to heat the sauce through properly and then transfer to a serving dish.

The best way to time this dish is to wash the rice and start its cooking process before you begin to pan fry the tofu, due to the time the rice requires to cook as well as the tofu requiring more attention. The stir fried veggies only take 5 minutes at the most to cook and plate, so they should be done last. If you need a more in-depth description of how to stir fry vegetables, then look at this recipe.

If you like spiced and spicy foods, then this is the dish for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Vegetarian Chili – FODMAPS, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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I first made this chili last winter when Ev and I were practicing being vegetarians before my little sister came and stayed with us. We wanted to be able to cook interesting meals for her, rather than just feeding her salads. Rabbit food just isn’t satisfying during winter.

Since then, Ev has decided to switch back to a vegetarian diet. Considering that the weather is about to change, although you wouldn’t have guessed it from the grasp that summer is attempting to have on the weather over the last couple of days, this seemed like an appropriate recipe to dust off and make again. Hearty and nutritious – beans are a vegetarian source of protein, plus all the vitamins and minerals from the veggies – this stew really hits the spot on a cold night and makes an easy lunch for the next day.

Notes:

  1. Being a chili, this recipe contains chickpeas (garbanzo beans), kidney beans and black beans. In total, these contain enough galacto-oligosaccharides to be problematic for someone who is sensitive to oligosaccharides – the O in FODMAPS. If you wanted to make this FODMAP safe, eliminate some or all of the beans and replace them with more of the safe veggies so it bulks up again. This would be the FODMAPs “safe” option, rather than the original recipe below.
  2. The fructans in onion and garlic are contained within the skin of the layers, so theoretically you should be able to fry them in the first stages of this recipe for flavour and then remove them afterwards and have no ill effect as the fructans content will be drastically reduced. If you are too sensitive even for that or simply don’t want to risk it, either omit the onion and garlic entirely or replace with asafoetida powder.
  3. Celery contains some mannitol; if you are sensitive, replace it with celeriac, which is low in all FODMAPs.
  4. Sweet corn can be problematic for some, eliminate it if it triggers your IBS.
  5. Adobo peppers are smoked jalapenos.
  6. You could sub in any sort of “chili powder” if you can’t find the cayenne or adobo peppers – just make sure you read the ingredients and look out for onion and garlic powders.

Vegetarian Chili:

  • 1/2 onion, diced if you can tolerate it or in quarters if you cannot.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced if you can tolerate it or halved if not. Alternatively, you can replace the garlic and onion with a 1/2 tsp. of asafoetida.
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano or 1 tbsp. fresh, minced
  • 1 tbsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground adobo chili pepper
  • 2 large celery stalks or equivalent celeriac, diced
  • 2 large capsicums, diced – red or green
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, diced and de-seeded if you don’t like too much spice; you could sub in 1 habanero if you really want to up the heat
  • 2-3 green chile peppers, minced – de-seeding optional
  • 3-4 x 28 oz/800 g cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 15 oz/425 g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 15 oz/425 g can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 x 15 oz/425 g can black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 x 15 oz/425 g can corn kernels, drained – optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Seal your pot and then fry the asafoetida/onion, garlic, bay leaves and spices for 15 minutes over a med-high heat. You can either leave the diced onion and garlic in after this if you can tolerate them, or if you cut them into thick slices then you can remove them at this point. As you can see, I have left them in.

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Add in the chopped fresh vegetables and fry over a medium heat until they are well softened – another 15 minutes approximately. You do not need to keep stirring as long as you have sealed your pan properly. As there isn’t much protein in here yet, so the risk of sticking is minimal. Just make sure the heat is not so high that it will crisp everything to the bottom.

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Add in the canned beans and corn – drained! – and the crushed tomatoes; 3 cans for a thicker chili and 4 if you like it runny. Season with salt and pepper and then bring it to the boil for 30 seconds before turning it down to a low heat and simmering for at least an hour before serving.

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If you have time to think ahead, chili is best the second day – as are most stews – because the flavours have more time to combine and intensify.

If your chili hasn’t thickened as much as you’d like, a quick trick to thicken it up is to add a handful or two of crushed corn tortilla chips and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes. It’s a much quicker option than waiting up to an extra hour for the dinner that you want now!

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Serve with natural sour cream or cheddar cheese and garnish with sliced green onions or coriander leaves. If you omitted the sour cream and cheese then this dish would be vegan as well.

Most importantly, dig in!