Yellow Jasmine Rice w/ Scandinavian Tofu Salmon
Hi and welcome back to Ria Lives Well!
The words, “I’m on a budget” have never rung as much truth in my life than these past few weeks. It’s a long story, but the unabridged version goes like this: I have very little to my name; I don’t have a “grown up” job; I recently purchased an expensive ticket to Oregon for my degree, where I’ll continue paying out of state tuition.
In other words, I’m broke and need to start pinching pennies. Like, in a serious way. It’s not that whipping up fancy meals has been on the back-burner; whipping up meals at all has been on the back-burner.
But a couple nights ago, after another meal of chips and avocado dip, I had an epiphany: You don’t have to eat poorly to save money! “I know I always say that, but is it really true?” Yes! You’ve seen the proof! Now put down that bag of chips. Toss the avocado, it’s browning anyway. And go make yourself a nice meal!
Despite the eerie fact that I was having a proper conversation with myself, I listened to the voice within and picked up a few inexpensive ingredients, paired them with spices I already owned and made a feast of flavor and pseudo prosperity!
You bet the first thing I picked up at the grocery store was rice. But not just any rice: jasmine rice. More flavor than white rice–including that subtle, nutty flavor loved by many–and it doesn’t cost too much if you purchase a bulk bag.
The second thing that came to mind? Tofu. I don’t want to feed the vegan stereotype; this is not the only thing vegans eat. Obvi. But the reason I was craving tofu is because I wanted fish; salmon, in fact. I wanted to pair my Jasmine rice with well cooked, well flavored tofu salmon. Can it be done?
Fortunately, I found this basic recipe for Scandinavian tofu salmon on Food.com. Scandinavian? Sounds interesting. Let’s go make it.
Inspired by: Budget Bytes
- 1 1/4 cup uncooked jasmine rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 7 dates, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (love this stuff!)
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
My photography assistants for the day…..
Can you tell they don’t like each other? ‘Cus they don’t. Seconds after taking this picture, yellow slapped brown.
- Heat butter, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric into a medium-large pot on medium heat. Stir until melted.
- Add rice and stir it in as it toasts; roughly two minutes.
- Add vegetable broth. Stir. Add 1 large bay leaf. Raise the heat to high and cover bowl. Once it boils, reduce heat to lowest temperature and let simmer for 20 minutes–still covered.
- After simmering, turn off the stove and leave the pot on the burner–lidded–for another 10 minutes.
- Mix in your dates. Fluff and serve. Salt and pepper more to taste.
Scandinavian Tofu Salmon:
- 1 8 ounce package extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/2- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- Drain tofu. Cut into cubes.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Submerge tofu.
- Grease a small baking dish with olive oil. Add the tofu.
- Bake at 350 deg. F. for 40 minutes. Serve with Jasmine rice.
Out of the oven, it looks like this…….Not much of a difference than when it’s uncooked.
There were a few road blocks in making this dish:
“Crap, I don’t have vegetable broth–I’ll just make my own.”
“Oh shit, we don’t have raisins–hell, I’ll use dates.”
“Parsley? I don’t have parsley. But I have cilantro. I’m using cilantro.”
I was determined to make this. A little extra work here, a few substitutes there; and it still came out amazing.
And I’m also very glad I made my own vegetable broth–been meaning to do it for a while, but I hadn’t saved up enough vegetable “scraps” until now. I stored them in a bag and kept them in the freezer to stay fresh.
Most brands stew rotten vegetables they can’t otherwise sell, diminishing the quality in taste. Why spend money on that?
I’m not even thinking about the flavors in this dish–well…of course I’m thinking about the flavor; I’m always thinking about flavor; and I love the flavor in this meal–what has me falling in love with this jasmine rice and tofu salmon is the frugality behind it. Like, it will lasts you days. And of course, it TASTES DAMN GOOD.