Refried brown rice & fried tofu

I soaked a cupful of pearl barley to see of it would sprout and, over a couple of days, it achieved a chewy consistency, which I though might compliment crunchy chori usli – sprouted adzuki beans – in a salad, perhaps with tamari and mirin? Having neither in store and being too tight to pay Baldwin’s prices, I settled for soaking the sprouts in a sachet of instant miso soup with some diced carrot and celery, adding a jigger of sesame ‘n’ splash of soy sauce. I intended to drain when cold & add roasted sunflower seeds with shoyu sauce, which proved my undoing. I kept eating them, so had to make three batches & ruined my appetite for experimental salad. In the finish, I mixed a few table spoons of the sprout mix with leftover rice in the wok and served it on a bed of alfalfa, garnished with deep-fried tofu.

It seems wrong to fry tofu & it sure sucks up oil, but if you’ve got a block in the ‘fridge that’s a few days old, it’s a good way to use it. You don’t need to actually fry in a vat of oil, but you need enough to cover cubes of a decent size, tilting the wok as necessary. Cook on & on until they’re golden. The blandness of tofu is a great backdrop for hot sauces and I bought a small bottle of Tabasco in the supermarket today for just a single one of your English pounds. Bargain!

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