I don't usually prepare dinners that mix fruit with the meal... but what of it. This Chinese-inspired recipe makes a great garnish for rice! And the addition of crunchy chow mein noodles makes it fun! My mom has been fixing this dish ever since I can remember. I believe she modified the recipe from a page fallen out of an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. More recently, we gave it a few simple vegan adjustments, and that's what you'll see here. I find it interesting that while growing up, Sweet and Sour didn't appeal to me much. Perhaps it's an acquired, adult flavor, because I know I enjoy it now! Plus, it gets me away from my ordinary pasta rut; a taste of Asia is a delightful experience once in a while! To create a truly ethnic atmosphere, remember to use chop sticks! Makes enough to feed 6 hungry people, approximately.
Sweet and Sour Rice
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 12 oz. bag of chow mein noodles (optional)
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 6 oz. cans of pineapple juice
scant 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Braggs or low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits in juice
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 8 oz. Soy Deli brand, savory flavor baked tofu, chopped
1 8 oz. can of sliced water chestnuts (optional)
Before anything else, begin cooking the brown rice. It will need about an hour, so don't leave it till the end! Use the instructions on the rice box or bag to get started.
Get out a lovely bowl and empty the bag of chow mein noodles into it; this is a secondary garnish. Set aside to serve with the finished product.
This next step takes about 10 minutes. In a small, one quart saucepan, mix the cornstarch and brown sugar. Continue adding pineapple juice, vinegar, Braggs, and salt. Also, open the can of pineapple chunks and drain the juice into the quart pan, but leave the tidbits behind. Stir completely. Now cook the syrup-like mixture on high setting. A few minutes later, after it boils, turn down the heat to medium-high. Stir regularly to avoid lumps. When mixture turns shiny, it is a sign of completion; wisk 30 seconds more then remove pan from heat. Set aside.
Final step: Get out a large skillet. Fill it with the pineapple tidbits, pepper, onion, tofu, and perhaps water chestnuts, then pour the syrup mixture on top of it all. Stir together. Set the pan to high heat, just until it boils. When it does, put the lid over it and turn the heat down low until it is gently simmering. Cook another 5 minutes, then remove from stove. (Hopefully the rice is done also!) You're ready to eat; serve straight out of the skillet!