Hello Chipotle Sofritas!

Hello Chipotle Sofritas!

Last month Chipotle rolled out it’s newest offering to several states. Their newest menu item is sofritas. Sofritas is made out of shredded organic tofu braised with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos and a blend of spices. The name “Sofritas” comes from the word “sofrito,” which means gently fried in Spanish. In Spanish cuisine, a sofrito is a culinary base consisting of combination of sautéed garlic, pepper, onions, tomatoes.

Ever since I heard that Chipotle would be offering this vegan/vegetarian friendly dish, I wanted to try and taste it. It’s the first time in 20 years that Chipotle is added something new to their protein offerings. I was intrigued. Today, I finally did get the chance to check their braised tofu dish.

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Like it’s other menu offerings, you can choose to get a bowl, burrito or a salad. I chose to get a sofritas bowl with brown rice, veggies, cheese, mild salsa and garnished with sour cream. The sofritas itself is very interesting looking, it looks like chorizo. The tofu texture is firm and makes you almost think it is ground beef or ground chicken.

Similarly, tastewise, it is also very un-tofu like. It tastes very much like you are eating ground beef or ground chicken. It is full of flavor and quite spicy. There’s a wonderful combination of slight tangy & slight smokey giving the Chipotle bowl quite a kick that is different from it’s other offerings. The cheese, mild salsa and sour cream offset the spice but in the end you definitely still feel the heat.

Chipotle’s sofritas is a great addition to their menu. It’s something different. It’s a good option for vegetarians and vegans but I have a feeling even meat eaters will like this. 🙂

Hello homemade tofu sisig!

Hello homemade tofu sisig!

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Ingredients: firm tofu, red onion, red bell pepper, jalapeño, lemon juice and mayonnaise

One of my favorite Filipino dishes is sisig. It’s a popular entree where various meats are marinated in a sour liquid like vinegar or lemon juice and then seasoned with salt, pepper and other spices. Traditionally this dish is made with pork and various parts of a pig but I honestly I’ve never been a fan of the traditional way. 1.) I don’t like pork. 2.) It seemed very unhealthy. In the past, I’ve really preferred and liked a chicken version of the dish. Now, that it is the Lenten season and I’m on my “no meat for 40 days” journey, I went with trying out a different type of sisig or a vegetarian version made with tofu.

First up for this was to deep fry the small firm tofu cubes until golden brown and crispy.

In a separate pan, the red onion and red bell pepper were sautéed.

The fried tofu and jalapeño were added next and mixed with the sautéed onion and bell peppers.

Lemon juice was added for the seasoning and a little bit of mayonaise was added into the mix.

I like this tofu sisig so much better than the pork version. It eliminates the unhealthy pork and it’s place is the healthier but tasty tofu. I often have a hard time introducing my vegetarian friends to Filipino food, so it’s nice to have options like this that can put a nice, vegetarian twist to a classic Filipino dish.

Hello Da Maat!

Hello Da Maat!

Brr! It’s cold but I feel all warm and fuzzy thanks to Da Maat!

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On a local quest for some hot soup during a rainy day, I found myself at Da Maat. Da Maat is a Korean restaurant in the South Bay specializing in tofu and Korean BBQ.

Upon entry, I was instantly pleased with the very neat and cozy little Korean eatery. To the left of the restaurant are picturesque paintings that look like windows and to the right of the restaurant are displays of various different bowls. I could not help but notice a pink bowl with a Hello Kitty like design (hmm wonder why I noticed that one ;). The display of bowls fitted the restaurant well especially since the majority of the menu is dedicated to various Korean soups.

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My meal here started with some complimentary tea. I love a good cup of tea during cold days and the warm cup of tea here did not disappoint. The warmth that it instantly brought was just an indication of more heartwarming eats coming our way.

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The server served the banchan next. There were seven little Korean side dishes served. There was oi muchim (spicy cucumber), goguma mattang (sweet potato in caramelized sauce), namul broccoli , sukjunamul (mung bean sprouts), Korean coleslaw, yangbaechu moochim (spicy shredded cabbage) and kimchi.

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My friend and I both decided to get soups from the soft tofu soup menu section. The soft tofu soup comes with egg that will get cracked and dropped into the soup that is served in a little black pot.

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The soft tofu soup also comes with white rice in a dolsot or Korean stone pot

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For the soft tofu soup, diners can choose their spice level from white, mild, medium, spicy and extra spicy. There are several types of tofu soup here.

My friend chose to get the seafood soon tofu with a white spice level or basically no spice.

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I chose to get the vegetable dumpling soon tofu with a mild spice level.

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My Korean vegetarian soup had plenty of plenty of soft tofu and three hearty vegetable dumplings.

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The soft tofu soups were served piping hot and were simply so comforting. The slightly spicy broth was very heartwarming and the perfect food for this rainy day. The soup along with the traditional banchan, stone pot rice and the cup of tea brought warmth to me and put a smile on my face.

It’s maybe raining outside but hello kitty foodie is all warm and fuzzy (and all smiles too :).

For more smiles, please read my recent Yelp review on Da Maat.

Hello Tofu Shirataki Noodles!

Hello Tofu Shirataki Noodles!

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Today’s culinary creation is tofu shirataki noodles!

Ingredients: shirataki noodles, meatballs, hot dog slices, Filipino spaghetti sauce

On a recent trip to a local Asian market, I was introduced to tofu shirataki noodles. They are a traditional Japanese noodles that are made of tofu and yam. After a bit of research, I found out shirataki noodles have several benefits! They are cholesterol free, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, vegan and high in fiber! They can even help in weight loss. I found these noodles intriguing and interesting and decided to try it out. There were two versions of tofu shirataki noodles that I bought. I got the spaghetti and fettuccine.

The tofu shirataki noodles already come cooked and so all I had to do was add a little boiling water and then mix in the ingredients that I wanted.

For the spaghetti, I added beef meatballs and sweet Filipino spaghetti sauce.

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For the fettuccine, I mixed in hot dog slices and sweet Filipino spaghetti sauce.

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I really liked how these noodles came out when cooked. They were so soft and tender. They tasted great too! I could not tell at all that I was eating something that was low in fat and low in calories! I couldn’t even tell that they are low in carbs! It’s as delicious as regular pasta. I am a fan! It’s healthy and yummy! Yay! I really liked the tofu shirataki noodles and can see myself using these noodles for other homemade creations!

Hello vegetarian kare kare!

Hello vegetarian kare kare!

Ingredients: tofu, eggplants, green beans, Chinese cabbage, peanut butter

Kare Kare is a traditional Filipino stew made with peanut butter, vegetables, oxtail, beef & sometimes tripe. Since I also gave up meat for Lent, I tried experimenting with a vegetarian version. I put no oxtail, beef or tripe but instead replaced it with tofu. It has tofu & lots of veggies. It is my healthier version kare kare.

See my other photo of my dish at http://instagram.com/p/Xld2BRhpKx/