Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style
A while back, I had this dish at a  vegetarian restaurant called One World Vegetarian and decided to make it myself at home.  Apparently, this restaurant does not serve this dish anymore which is too bad since I love this dish.  I think it is originally a Vietnamese dish which uses ground pork as the stuffing.  To veganize it I used crumbled and drained firm tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and mung bean noodle (bean thread noodle or glass noodle or cellophane noodle).  The cellophane noodle acts as a binder  for the stuffing.   In the picture above, I served this dish with sweet and sour sauce and garlicky sauteed baby spinach.  I also serve this dish with steamed brown rice.   The dish is so COLORFUL and use rainbow colors vegetable such as below:

Ingredients from left corner, clockwise:  yellow, orange, and red bell peppers, onion, 1 block of firm tofu, bean thread noodle, fresh shiitake mushrooms, and medium ripe tomatoes.
The sweet and sour sauce is optional.  Without this sauce, the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers are already so tasty.  The sauteed baby spinach was also a side dish that can be replaced with any other stir fried vegetables.  However, I love a colorful dish and thought that it looks so appetizing to combine yellow, orange, red, and green on my plate.

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style
Serve 8

3 medium size bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 orange, and 1 red)
3 medium size ripe tomatoes
9 fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped into coarse bits (including the stems)
1 water packed block firm tofu (14 oz), drained
1/2 large onions, chopped into coarse bits
3 stalks of green onions, chopped coarsely
2 oz dry bean thread noodle  (soak in hot water)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Mushroom Seasonings or Mushroom Powder
Note: I love the mushroom powder from Pistol River Farm
1 tsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Ground White Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
Toasted Sesame Oil
Canola Oil or Grapeseed Oil
a 9-inch non-stick frying pan or cast iron pan with a tight lid

Remove the inside of the tomatoes.
Remove the inside of the colorful bell peppers.
The fresh tomatoes were stuffed with tofu, mushrooms,
onions, green onions, and seasonings.
The fresh colorful bell peppers stuffed with tofu, mushrooms,
onions, green onions, and seasonings.

  1. Put the drained block of tofu in a colander under heavy objects (such as canned vegetables) to press out more of the water out of the tofu.  Press for 30 minutes or longer.    You can use TofuXpress but I haven't really acquired this nifty gadget yet and still doing it in the old fashion way.
  2. Soak the dry bean thread noodle in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes.  Then drain the noodles onto a colander.  With a kitchen scissor or knife, cut the drained cellophane noodle into 1-inch strands. Set aside
  3. Cut all the bell peppers and tomatoes into halves.  Remove the stems from the bell peppers(it's ok to have holes on the bottom).  Remove the inside such as the seeds and cut out all the ribs from inside the bell peppers and tomatoes.  Throw away the seeds but save the ribs for the sweet and sour sauce recipe below.
  4. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil in a frying pan.  Saute chopped shiitake mushrooms and onions for about 5 minutes until they are soft, brown, and mushrooms are dry. Set it aside and let it cool.
  5. Crumble the drained and pressed tofu with your hands into a large bowl.  Add the sauted onions and mushrooms, chopped green onions, all purpose flour, mushroom powder, sugar, salt, ground white pepper, and cut cellophane/bean thread noodle.  Combine thoroughly to form a stuffing.
  6. Stuff each half of tomato and bell pepper with the stuffing (no. 5) up to the rim.
  7. Heat a flat 9-inch frying pan on a medium heat.  Put 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1/2 tablespoon canola/grapeseed oil and swirl them around to coat the pan.
  8. Starting with the stuffed tomatoes, put the tomatoes bottom sides(skin sides) down first.  Cover with the lid and leave it alone for 10 minutes.  This is important to cook the tomatoes.
  9. Then, flip them  carefully with a spatula to fry the stuffed sides.  Cover with the lid again and leave it alone for another 5 minutes.  Take the lid off and cook more for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan fried tomatoes from the frying pan, set them aside.
  10. Add more oils (1/2 Tbsp sesame and 1/2 Tbsp canola/grapeseed) into the frying pan. Continue with the stuffed bell peppers, put the peppers bottom sides (skin sides) down first.  Cover with the lid and leave it alone for 13 minutes(bell peppers need more time).
  11. Then, flip them carefully with a spatula to fry the stuffed sides. Cover with the lid again and leave it alone for another 7 minutes. Take the lid off and cook more for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan bell peppers from the frying pan, set them aside with the pan fried tomatoes.

Amount per Serving:
Calories 157157  Calories from  Fat 67, 67 Total Fat 7.5g7.5 12%12, Saturated Fat 1.2g1.2 6%6, Sodium 300mg300 13%13, Total Carbohydrates 19.5g19.5 6%6, Dietary Fiber 2.2g2.2 9%9, Sugars 3.8g3.8,  Protein 5.4g5.4

Stuffed tomatoes, pan fried.

Stuffed bell peppers, pan fried.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Serve 8
This is an optional sauce to serve with the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers.

Combine in a bowl and stir:
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cooking wine or sherry
1 1/2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/8 tsp. Ground White Pepper
1 3/4 cup water or low sodium vegetable broth

1/2 large onion, sliced
Optional: the inside of the tomatoes and bell peppers (without the seeds), chopped into small bits.
Toasted Sesame Oil
  1. In a medium pot on a medium heat, put 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil.  Add sliced onions and the tomatoes and bell peppers bits.  Saute until onions and vegetables are soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the combined sauce, stir, and bring it to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes until thickened.  Serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6666 Calories from Fat 88, Total Fat 0.9g0.9 1%, 1Saturated Fat 0.1g0.1 0%, 0Sodium 385mg38516%,16
Total Carbohydrates 11.7g11.7 4%,4 Dietary Fiber 0.7g0.7 3%, 3 Sugars 8.0g8.0, Protein 0.5g

Garlicky Baby Spinach
Serve 2-4
This is an optional side dish to servw with the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers.

6-8 cups baby spinach
6 garlic cloves, chopped or slice thinly
1/2 salt
Cracked black pepper
Toasted Sesame oil
  1. In the frying pan used for preparing the tomatoes and bell peppers, heat 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil on a medium high heat.
  2. Add garlic and toast for 30-40 seconds.
  3. Add baby spinach and stir.  Sprinkle salt and cracked black pepper.
  4. Cover with the lid for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted and soft.
  5. Take it off from heat and serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6161 Calories from Fat 2222, Total Fat 2.4g2.4 4%, 4Saturated Fat 0.3g0.3 2%,2 Sodium 139mg139 6%,6Total Carbohydrates 4.7g4.7 2%, 2Dietary Fiber 1.5g1.5 6%, 6Sugars 0.1g, 0.1Protein 4.3g



Unknown said...

Those look awesome! I'm used to Italian-style stuffed veggies (I'm Italian) and this seems a great twist, awesome!

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh those look amazing!! i love this recipe!

Mattheworbit said...

They do look fantastic!

We will definitely give these a try. Thanks for the recipe - love the new blog layout too!

Unknown said...

Thanks all! I hope you will like it.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Sailu @ Indian Food said...

Just chanced upon your wonderful blog. Your blog is home to some wonderful vegan recipe. I have bookmarked a few recipes to try. :)

Sharon L. said...

I was a huge fan of One World's stuffed tomatoes. At one point, I was eating it nearly every day. Thank you fo this recipe! I have been looking to recreate that amazing taste!

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