Chinese black rice, also known as Chinese Forbidden black rice, is a gorgeous short-grain glutenous rice with a sweet flavor and chewy texture. It turns indigo or deep purple in its cooking liquid and smells slightly grape-like. It can be used for both sweet and savory dishes.
Organic roma tomatoes are the absolute perfect cooking tomato, uplifting anything they touch with an incredibly sweet and rich tomatoey dimension. There is nothing else quite like it. Although many people don’t think of using tomatoes in Asian cooking, it is actually quite common in Szechuan cuisine and throughout Southern China, and Malaysia. Tomatoes and five-spice? Hmmmmm….
When it comes to five-spice powder (typically a blend of fennel, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and white pepper), it’s not on our top 10 list of turn-to Asian spices or condiments. Well, we got a five-spice itch and imagined searing some tofu that had been coated with it, and somehow incorporating those amazing tomatoes.
So as it came together: you take a few romas, quarted them, and marinated them in equal parts of hoisin and Chinese chili sauce, minced garlic, and grated ginger. You leave them sit and smolder in all those wonderful flavors for about 30 minutes.
Some dehydrated shitake mushroom caps were reconstituted in hot water and then cut into quarters.
You cut extra-firm organic tofu into 1 1/2 inch filets, placed them between kitchen towels, and squeezed for about 30 minutes with the weight of a cast iron skillet placed on top to remove all excess water. You then sprinkle them with shoyu, followed by a liberal coating of five-spice powder, seared them in a wok with grapeseed oil, and removed them to cool before being cut into triangles.
To prepare the rice, you saut a cup with olive oil, a dash of shoyu, and minced garlic in the bottom of a pot, then simmer it with vegetable broth for about 35 minutes. Once finished, you add some diced green onions.
Finally, in a hot wok with the same grapeseed oil used to sear the tofu, you add the tomatoes and their marinade, plus the quartered shitake caps, and stir fried just until the tomatoes began to soften and release their juices. You add the tofu back in and give it a quick stir to bring all flavors together.
After plating the rice and tomatoes, you garnish with some chopped cilantro.
The verdict? It went perfectly with the richness of the tomatoes, the meatiness of the tofu’s texture, and chewy shitakes. The hoisin-chili marinade was both sweet and spicy, but not too stingy-spicy, just a nice warmth throughout your mouth. Hoisin sauce and romas really love each other! The black rice was just an added interesting and exotic dimension. YUM!