Waitrose Five Spice Recipe

Usually I don’t post recipes, because I’m the type of person who does cooking by books and not by ~intuition~ for the most part (out of laziness, mostly). BUT… this is an awesome recipe that USED to be on Waitrose.com. Since they re-vamped their website they apparently deleted it I guess because I can’t find it anywhere on the site now. I was pretty sad when I discovered this since it was probably the only gluten-free, vegan recipe on the entire site. Luckily, due to internet magic, I was able to screencap what the page used to look like (I also had the recipe scribbled in one of my sketchbooks). So I’m reproducing it here for anyone who like me, used to enjoy it and can’t access it anymore.

When I make this recipe, I don’t make it exactly as directed. Check out my notes after the block quote to see how I do it:

Chinese Five Spice Stir fry with Tofu and Vegetables
Serves: 4
2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar (optional, see note)

1 tsp crushed dried chillies or 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

350g tofu, cut into chunks

250g Thai fragrant rice
1 tbsp groundnut oil

2 red and 1 yellow medium peppers, deseeded and sliced

200g broccoli, cut into florets

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 heaped tsp cornflour (cornstarch, if you’re in the USA), you could use arrowroot too

4 tbsp cold water

1-2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, chilli and five-spice powder then add the tofu and coat well. Cover and marinate for 1-2 hours if possible. (optional, see notes)
2. When ready to cook, drain the tofu, reserving the marinade. Put the rice to cook, following pack instructions.
3. Heat a wok with half the groundnut oil over a high heat. Add the tofu (you might need to do this in batches). Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until golden then remove to a warm plate. Add the remaining groundnut oil to the pan, then the peppers, broccoli and sesame oil. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until just tender.
4. Stir the cornflour and water into the reserved marinade and add to the pan, along with the tofu. Cook briefly until thickened. Add a little hot water if needed to give a rich sauce. Serve with the rice, scattered with sesame seeds.

Important notes that you should read that make this recipe totally better:
The biggest change I make when I do this recipe is that I don’t marinate the tofu. I did the first time, and it doesn’t really make it taste any better, it’s just pointless extra time and effort. So screw that. Just mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and don’t add the tofu. For the tofu, I just chop it up into triangles and stir fry it with some toasted sesame oil on all sides until the pieces are crispy, as pictured above. I also freeze and then thaw the tofu beforehand which, in my opinion, really improves the texture. They come out great.

The original recipe calls for caster sugar – I don’t eat refined sugar except on special occasions, and we don’t even keep caster sugar around the house so, I just leave it out when I make this and the sauce still tastes amazing. If you want to add sweetener but don’t want to use caster sugar, try stevia, date sugar, or brown rice syrup.

I usually double the sauce recipe and use brown rice instead of white. Also, I use a heaped tablespoon (not a heaped teaspoon) of cornflour because I like the sauce to be thicker.

Lastly, I use gluten free soy sauce (tamari) so it’s gluten free.

Whew! That seems like a lot, but I actually recommend trying it my way at least once, it’s totally easier than the Waitrose recipe and tastes just as good, if not better.

If you decide to try making it, let me know how it goes here in the comments or on Twitter or facebook!

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