Forbidden rice and veggie stir fry

The 95+ degree weather is making me extremely lethargic and downright bitchy. It feels more like August here than the beginning of July. Last night’s dinner consisted of a cold turkey sandwich and two gallons of water. Last week my daughter was a vegetarian, hubby was out of town, and we made this…


It all started with this beautiful rice we found while strolling through Pastaworks. It’s aptly named ‘Heirloom Forbidden rice.’ Legend has it this ancient grain, also referred to as ‘longevity rice,’ was originally reserved for emperors of China. It’s treasured for its roasted nutty flavor, soft texture and gorgeous deep purple color. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants called anthocyanins — the purple pigments that are also found in blueberries and acai, but without the sugar.


Simple stir fry meals are one of my new favorites to cook and to eat. Just grab some fresh veggies — whatever floats your boat — and is currently in season. For this stir fry, I sautéed garlic cloves, broccoli, carrots, sweet peppers, scallions. Then I cubed a bunch of extra firm tofu, added that to the veggie mix and heated it through. Then there was peanut sauce… oh the peanut sauce!

Summer meals are challenging, I like to make them as simple as possible so I spend the least amount of time over a hot stove, but too many cold meals leave me unsatisfied in any season. This meal takes little effort. Simple. Healthy. Delicious.

Here’s the not-so-forbidden recipe:

Tofu Veggie Stir Fry
Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece (3 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup broccoli florets
3 scallions, thinly sliced
5 smallish carrots
8 oz extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups cooked purple (forbidden rice) or brown rice
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, carrots, peppers and scallions. Stir-fry for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tofu. Stir-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve over rice and drizzle with peanut sauce.

Peanut sauce (from Bon Appetit)

This makes enough sauce for several meals. Keep leftovers refrigerated for up to a week.

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon (packed) light brown sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
With motor running, drop ginger and garlic clove into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and 1/3 cup water and blend, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if needed to thin, until smooth. Peanut sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

I hope you’re having a fabulous summer!