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  • Karine Wlasichuk

Freezer to Table: Crispy Chili-Curry Tofu Bowl

Can you tell I'm using up my flower bouquets from Mother's Day? Well, if you couldn't tell yet, it is about to become a lot more evident in the coming posts. Enjoy that! Now. Today's post is the product of a concept I am very proud of applying weekly: flash freezing fresh produce. When I realised that:

a) we could not go to the store very often and had to make our products last as long as possible and

b) most stores were simply out of stock on many fresh ingredients,

I decided to make a huge vegetable haul and flash freeze everything. I chopped onions, peppers, asparagus and all their friends and either flash froze them before placing them in marked freezer bags (with the intended recipe for my tired brain at a later date) or placed them straight away (chopped broccoli does great straight into the bag and makes for a great spicy linguine the following month!). As long as you press all the air out of your bag before freezing, you will truly help your future self to:

a) avoid cutting onions/crying daily

b) avoid countless trips to multiple stores

c) save major time with dinner preparation

d) feel organised and fab

I strongly encourage any pregnant woman out there to get chopping and bagging! It's basically like meal prepping except it takes way less time than preparing an entire lasagne to freeze and it ensures green and vitamins for all your meals to come.

A note: you won't be able to eat a frozen vegetable as is once it is back to room temperate, rather use it for casseroles, stir fry recipes, soups, and sautées of all kinds. They are not meant to be eaten raw but you can add them into any sauce, smoothie, dip or stew of your choice! You just need to make sure you start cooking them at a higher temperature (and then reduce to medium-low) in your skillet as they will let go of more water at first- you know, ice, science.

So let's start today with 2 fun facts: yes, you can freeze tofu which will end up with the exact same texture and cooking qualities and yes, frozen vegetables taste just as fresh in a nice sautée. Ready? Get ready for a fresh bowl entirely made out of pantry cans and packages and of course, freezer bags. This is probably my 15th quarantine-friendly post and I got a lot more shelf-cooking ideas to go through!

You will need to prep,

Tofu (1 pack, sliced: once thawed, marinate with chili-garlic sauce for a few hours)

Chickpeas (half a can, rinsed and drained- save the rest for homemade hummus!)

Scallions (1, thinly sliced, separate the white bottoms from the green tops)

Corn starch (spread enough to cover a plate)

Couscous (1/3 cup per bowl)

Cumin (1/2 tbsp)

Paprika (1/2 tbsp)

Curry (1 tbsp)

Garlic (2 cloves, minced)

Basil sea salt

Black pepper

Olive oil (galore)

Yellow onion (a small handful of slices from your freezer bag)

Bell peppers (a few slices from your frozen stash)

Note: The tofu was frozen without any marinade, left in the fridge overnight and then coated in sauce once it was thawed the next day. The peppers and onions were taken out of their freezer bags just before cooking. They do not need any prior preparation.

A few easy steps,

1.In a medium bowl, mix chickpeas, white scallion bottoms and spices with sea salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and stir. Set aside.

2. On your plate covered with cornstarch, place your tofu squares and coat, making sure to cover both sides while patting gently. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

3. In a skillet over medium heat, spread olive oil evenly (1/4 inch of the pan) and cook the tofu squares for 3-5 minutes, flipping them halfway. Set aside on paper towel once they are golden.

4. In a separate skillet over high heat, drizzle olive oil and start cooking frozen vegetables, while stirring often (they need high heat at first as they will let out water, however as soon as they feel soft, lower to medium heat).

5. After 2 minutes of stirring the vegetables, lower the heat and add garlic. Toss for 5 extra minutes, until lightly grilled.

6. Prepare your couscous bowls and add all separately prepared items. Sprinkle with the green scallion slices and enjoy!

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