If you’re a fan of bold unapologetic flavors, Week 16’s recipes are meant for you. Packed with sweet, sour, and spicy tastes, Allergic to Salad’s General Tso’s Tofu with Broccoli and Misir Wat are both recipes that are as fun to make as they are to eat.
Our educator Kelly said the tofu and broccoli in the General Tso recipe was new for many of her students at Flagstone. Despite the ingredients’ newness, Kelly said all of the students loved the final dish and that, “This recipe is a great way to introduce anyone to tofu.” In fact, Allergic to Salad educator McKenzie said tofu was also new to her students at West End Secondary School and shared that “This was a great experience, and everyone tried the tofu!”
Kelly also shared details of her lesson on digestion that accompanied the recipe at The Center School: “I started off by asking the students what they knew already about the digestive system, and then we took a journey through the system.” Allergic to Salad educator Erica also based the cooking instruction around digestion. “This week’s lesson is one of my favorite topics. I was very excited to go over the entire process of digestion. I gave the students some context clues to name the organs they may already be familiar with. I shared some fun facts about digesting carbohydrates with salivary amylase. We discussed in detail what would happen in every step of digestion. I then had the class explain how their Tofu and Broccoli from our recipe would be digested in their own words.” Erica also shared the sauce was delicious and the kids loved it!
General Tso’s Tofu with Broccoli
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 head broccoli rinsed and chopped into florets
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3-4 cloves garlic, fined minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or vinegar of choice)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (preferred) or sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 24 ounces extra-firm tofu (2 packages)
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sriracha (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (preferred) or sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3-4 tablespoons oil
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli and a pinch of salt and cook until the broccoli begins to brown and turn a darker shade of green, about 3-4 minutes. Pour in a little water, bring to a boil, and cover for a minute or two to finish cooking. Remove from pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients until well-combined. Set aside.
Cut the tofu into ¾-inch cubes. Place in a mixing bowl and toss with remaining tamari or soy sauce, sriracha (if using), and maple syrup or sugar. One tablespoon at a time, add the cornstarch, tossing with your hands to coat. This will be messy, but be gentle! You don’t want to break the tofu.
Heat 3-4 tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the tofu, cooking for a minute or so on each side, stirring occasionally. Cook until golden-brown all over, about 4-5 minutes, turning the heat down if the tofu browns too quickly.
Return the broccoli to the skillet or wok and add the prepared sauce. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, tossing to coat the tofu and veggies. Serve with rice, if desired.
Food safety tip:
Make sure you really rinse off that broccoli well: dirt can be hiding beneath that beautiful green crown! You may want to wash it when whole and then give it a once-over after your group has cut it into florets.
During Week 16 our Culinary Explorers journeyed to northeast Africa to create a lentil dish popular in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Educator Erika told us that her students at Spruce Street loved the storytelling part of the lesson which discussed the origins of Misir Wat. At the Anderson School, students put their different senses to the test by smelling the different spices our educator Stephanie brought for the recipe. “Then the students got to chop up the onions and garlic, measured out the ingredients, and helped stir the stew. While it was cooking, some of the students helped clean up. They all had a chance to work on their passports and we played a quick game of ‘guess which vegetable I am”‘ before everyone sampled the food. Everyone really enjoyed it and asked for seconds.” She also said that one of the students in her class was from Ethiopia and shared how his family makes misir wat at home.
Jo’s class has some special visitors while they prepared their Misir Wat:
“Parents were invited to this class and were able to learn about the history of lentils and to watch as their kids smelled new spices and cried over onion chopping. We then took turns sauteeing the onions and garlic, adding the tomato sauce and paste and cleaned up while the stew simmered. I selected students to come up to the stove to add ingredients by who could respond to trivia questions about lentils and proper knife techniques. Parents were surprised by how this dish came together, how delicious it turned out, and how the kids kept asking for more. One parent even commented, ‘I learned so much!’.”
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon berbere, or 1 teaspoon each paprika, cumin, and coriander
- Pinch cardamom and cinnamon (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and soaked overnight
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons of berbere (or all of the paprika, cumin, and coriander), and salt, along with cardamom and cinnamon, if you’re using it. Cook for 5-7 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
Add the lentils and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
When the lentils are nearly done, stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Simmer for a couple more minutes and serve with rice, flatbread, or plain.
Have a great week spice-lovers!
Team Allergic to Salad