You know those features in magazines that are all, make takeaway food the cheap and healthy way! and how to make your favourite junk food at home, without the additives! and whatever? Perhaps I read too many food magazines; that's not really the point. The point is that I've never been particularly interested in that sort of thing. I kind of feel like if you're reading the same food magazines as me, you probably don't buy a takeaway curry every night anyway. And if you want a takeaway every once in a while, you probably want an actual takeaway, additives and all (damn those tasty additives).
But there are two exceptions to this set up. The first are those crazy vegans... of which I am one. Even if you get round the issue of your mu shu pork and cashew chicken containing, you know, pork and chicken, there's a whole minefield of oyster sauce and whathaveyou out there. Sometimes a girl needs to shred a pepper and press her tofu and get shit done herself.
(I also need to get over this thing I do of trying to make vegan cooking sound badass. Just imagine me pressing my tofu in a fierce, devil-may-care sort of way. That's totally how it is.)
So, exception number two. Exception number two involves early summer evenings, and watching so much of the Big Bang Theory that you would sell your soul for a Chinese takeaway (I swear all they do on that show is eat Chinese food), and living in a country where your grasp of the language does not stand up to phone conversation, even the sort of phone conversation that just goes, 'BRING ME FOOD PLS.'
...Which is how I order takeout. I'm pretty sure that's what everyone does.
What I mean is, sometimes practicality gets in the way of yo' dinner cravings. And at times like this, homemade sweet and sour sauce with stir-fried peppers, broccoli, pineapple, tofu and brown rice can go a long way.
It's not so much that I care about my MSG intake, and more about the fact that I really like dinner.
"Takeaway" Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry
for the sauce:
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp plum sauce
1 tsp rice or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp brown sugar
1/3 c. (90ml) water
200g firm tofu - press it if you want it firmer; I pressed it while I chopped veg.
1 onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
small head of broccoli (mine was 170g), chopped
3 rings pineapple, chopped
Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok or largeish pan with a little oil. Once it's hot, add your onion and stirfry for five minutes or so, then add the garlic and let cook for another couple of minutes. I'm not at all about timing for this sort of thing, so your call. Next, add the pepper, then the broccoli (this is gonna depend on how big or small your broccoli is cut). You might want to add a few tablespoons of water as you go along, to stop your veg sticking to the pan and save you adding more oil. Let these cook until softened.
If your tofu is pressing, retrieve it now and sprinkle it with black pepper; I also added a dash of turmeric, for colour and a teeny pinch of chili. Cut it up into blocks and add to the pan, along with your chopped pineapple and the prepared sauce. Allow to heat through for another couple of minutes until everything's all jumbled up and hot and coated in sauce, and generally delicious.
Eat with brown rice and a friend.