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Growing up, rice was a staple at home. If it was mealtime and there wasn’t rice on the table, either you had read the clock wrong and it wasn’t dinnertime, or you were eating out. Or the house was on fire
but even then, there was probably rice…
I think I can count on both hands the number of times our family partook in a dinner without rice–because yes, even when it was lasagna night, the rice cooker would still be steaming happily away. You know, heaven forbid the pasta got burnt and became inedible or something.
Maybe we just really liked rice.
So you can imagine the shock I felt when I learned in college that some of my friends didn’t eat rice at all. When my floormates and I had a potluck during my second year, I remember looking around the table for something that wasn’t bread, pasta, or some other form of insanely cheesy carbs.
Most importantly, where was the rice??
Okay, and also where were the chopsticks, because lezbehonest “not impaling your food before eating it” > “poking holes all over your food with a fork,” any day. Even if you have to bring your bowl up to your face when using chopsticks just to shovel the rice into your mouth. (But that’s half the fun!)
Fortunately, once those godforsaken college years passed and I graduated to a real kitchen of my own, a nightly order of rice was back on the menu–and this time I was determined to play experimenter. As a kid, I had poo-poo’ed anything other than steamed white rice, mainly since my mom went through a phase of mixing brown rice with jasmine rice in the effort to make our meals “healthier.” It tasted terrible, with the brown rice still uncooked and the jasmine rice a big pile of mush.
But when I moved away to grad school, I decided to give souped-up combo rice another shot. Thankfully, I’m no longer a steamed rice purist: some of my favs right now are black rice (yay stickiness) and brown rice (nom nuttiness), and yes–flavored rice. If you’re a seasoned rice novice with limited time like I am, I hop over to Ralph’s during my weekly all-purpose grocery run and usually grab a box of Uncle Ben’s® Long Grain & Wild Rice Fast Cook Recipe, which is nutty and mildly flavored and is located in this beauuuuutiful rice haven:
Most of all, it makes an epic 5-minute side (whoo instant dinner! no seriously, I was starving and ready to eat NOW) for this recipe I’m about to share with you…
Honey walnut shrimp: have you heard of it? I’m sure you’ve seen it on at least one Chinese (or faux Chinese) restaurant menu, and it’s one of my very favorite dishes…in theory. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that there’s one itsy-bitsy problem: I don’t eat meat, and that includes shrimp.
That’s right! I CAN COOK!
Thus was born this Chinese honey walnut tofu, a variation on the original dish with every bit of creamy, sweet mayo-sauce goodness to swirl into those crunchy candied walnuts, steamed tofu, and generous portion of seasoned rice. I’ve made it on multiple occasions, and it’s every bit as sinfully good as the shrimp version or–dare I say it?–infinitely better.
Again, IMHO. But really, would I lie about something this important?
No, I didn’t think so either. 😉
What’s your favorite way to enjoy the food of the gods: RICE?
Don’t forget to find a Ralph’s or Kroger store near you for noms ASAP!
Honey Walnut Tofu with Garlic and Herb Rice
A vegetarian-friendly spin off the classic Chinese dish: this is honey walnut tofu! Candied walnuts complement a sweet mayo-based sauce for pan-fried tofu. It's perfect for a quick-make, feel-good Asian dinner and best served with a steaming hot bowl of rice.
- 1 box firm tofu, squeezed, drained, and cut into medium cubes
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup raw whole walnuts
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- Heat up a large saucepan or wok. Add a tablespoon of oil and pan-fry tofu cubes, flipping them after about 3 minutes until both all sides are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate.
- In a small bowl, combine mayo, honey, and condensed milk. Pour over tofu and toss to coat.
- Toss walnuts into the same saucepan, then sprinkle sugar on top. Heat sugar over medium heat until it liquifies and caramelizes over the walnuts--you'll need to stir constantly as soon as the sugar begins to melt to avoid burning the walnuts. Once the sugar has all dissolved, turn off heat and add walnuts to the serving plate.
- Serve with a side of stir-fried Chinese greens and Uncle Ben's® Long Grain & Wild Rice Fast Cook Recipe!
9 Replies to “Honey Walnut Tofu with Long Grain and Wild Rice”
We eat LOTS of rice too in Africa and a day without rice is simply unheard of. I had the same surprise when I went to college and realized not everyone shares this love lol! I love this easy recipe! I’ll be making it with chicken though 😉
This is a totally cool cultural overlap about which I wasn’t even really aware! I’m really excited for you to make this with chicken, it’s fab (I know, I’ve had a version of that myself)!
Rice! I love it, and my rice cooker is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets because I never seem to be able to cook it the right way on the actual stove, except for risotto which I am a champ at. So for favorites, I am going to say my bacon and leek risotto with a poached egg on top…but this honey walnut tofu dish could definitely give my risotto a run for its money! 🙂
I’m totally the same way–stovetap rice cooking is a big no-no for me, usually! RISOTTO. Kate, you’ve got the best taste ever and I’m just getting ready to make risotto and share a recipe soon. Great thinking! 😉
Ooooh, I want a huge bowl of this. And mmm that wild rice!!
Sending you a huge virtual bowl 🙂
Without seeing your recipe card I never would have imagined that plate only has a handful of ingredients! It looks amazing…and perfect for a busy working mom looking for quick dinner solutions! #client
I know! I was pretty amazed the first time I looked at the recipe, too. Cheers, Heather!
I love that you made this with tofu and wild rice! I’m hangry so I could totally go for bowl for breakfast 🙂