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Asian Tofu Salad with Roasted Peanuts

Tofu and peanuts come together to create an homage to classic Asian flavor combinations in this satisfying main course recipe. I usually serve this vegan dish with a side of brown rice and a starter course of miso soup.

Ingredients
Toasted sesame oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
3-4 shallots, halved, thinly sliced into half moon pieces
5-6 thin slices fresh ginger, finely minced
grated zest of 1 lime
soy sauce
1 red bell pepper, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded, diced
1 carrot, fine matchstick pieces
mirin
4 slices packaged backed tofu
1 bunch watercress, rinsed well, finely diced
brown rice vinegar
One half cup Valencia peanuts
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
pinch sea salt
1 mango, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced

Directions
Place about 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet and turn heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add garlic, shallots, ginger and lemon zest, a splash of soy sauce and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in red pepper and carrot, another splash of soy sauce and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add one half cup mirin, season lightly with soy sauce and reduce heat to low. Cook vegetables, uncovered, until liquid has reduced to a thin syrup, 10-12 minutes. Stir in baked tofu and lay watercress on top. Cover and turn off heat. Allow watercresss to steam until just wilted, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in a sprinkle of brown rice vinegar. 

To make the peanuts, place the peanuts in a heat-resistant bowl. Bring rice syrup and salt to a foaming boil over high heat. Pour over peanuts and stir well to coat. Immediately stir sweet peanuts into tofu dish. Transfer cooked tofu mixture to a serving platter and arrange sliced mangoes around the rim of the dish.

Makes 4-5 servings.

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