It’s been a few months since we’ve been in our new (and first!) home, but I still get nostalgic about our old neighborhood even though it’s just 10 minutes away, and our new neighborhood is pretty awesome as well.
In our old apartment, we were super close to a Boké Bowl – a healthy, Asian, “fast food” restaurant in Portland. My favorite dish there was definitely the tofu rice bowl. Tender, sticky rice, perfectly fried tofu, seared eggplant, and kimchi.
It was so delicious I knew I had to recreate it at home. Consider this my inspired version.
This dish requires just 30 minutes to make, and it can be modified to taste and what’s in season. It takes on influences from many countries – Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, China – and fuses them together into one flavorful bowl.
Currently, I’m digging on eggplant (these are little Japanese eggplant!). But you can also go for something like sugar snap peas, squash, or bell pepper if that’s more your thing.
This dish is like a hug from fall. It’s:
Protein- + Fiber-rich
& Insanely delicious
This would make the perfect weeknight meal when you’re craving something healthy yet satisfying. It’s delicious on its own, but it would also pair especially well with my 20-minute Asian Kale Salad, or these Healthy Spring Rolls!
If you try this recipe, let us know! We love seeing your comments, ratings, and your photos tagged #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Sesame Eggplant & Almond Butter Tofu Bowls
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp salted creamy almond, cashew or peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 1/2 -2 Tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
- 1 medium birds eye chili, crushed (or sub 1 tsp chili garlic sauce // amount as original recipe is written)
- 1 Tbsp toasted or untoasted sesame oil
- 2 medium Japanese eggplants (stem removed, halved, then cut in 1-inch pieces // skin on)
- 1 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten free)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
- Start by wrapping tofu in a clean towel and setting something heavy on top (like a cast iron skillet) to press out excess moisture for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- If serving with traditional rice, start now by adding 3/4 cup (150 g) white or brown rice and 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) water to a small saucepan and bringing to a boil (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover with a secure lid, and cook for 20-25 minutes. Set aside.
- Prepare the tofu sauce in a medium mixing bowl by whisking together sesame oil, almond butter, tamari, lime juice, maple syrup, and crushed chili (or chili garlic sauce). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, chili pepper for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cut pressed tofu into small rectangles. Toss in cornstarch (they should be well coated) and sauté in 2 Tbsp sesame oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), flipping once browned on the underside to ensure even browning – about 5 minutes total.
- Add the almond butter sauce (see photo) and stir to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring gently to ensure even cooking on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
- To the still hot pan - over medium-high heat - add 1 Tbsp sesame oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and once hot, the eggplant. Drizzle with tamari, maple syrup and sesame seeds (optional) and sauté, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes or until browned on all sides.
- To assemble, divide rice between serving bowls (2-3 as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and top with eggplant, tofu and other desired toppings, such as fresh vegetables, Asian pickles, Kimchi, or chili garlic sauce. Best when fresh.