I get most inspired by leftovers of meals gone awry or just leftovers in general. Evidence of that is abundant on this blog. just look here, here, here and here. I love to have food left over as it means less work the following day, but either a) I am determined not to waste food just because a recipe or idea didn't pan out or b) I just don't want to eat the same thing again and again.
Last night was a case of the former. The night before we were spent from a long day of play. It was a gorgeous day and we took full advantage taking Taylor to the park. Once home, bath time and nightly chores needed to be taken care of so takeout seemed like a GREAT idea. The Cap'n wanted Chinese, and since I was in the mood for tofu, I ordered the Szechuan tofu and a side of veggie Lo Mein. While the Lo Mein was ok (never enough veggies), the tofu was too soft and the sauce for it was passable, at best. I didn't even touch the white that came with it.
Come dinner time last night my leftovers were glaring at me while I prepared to make a quick dinner and I knew I'd have to use them up or just toss them entirely. Heating them in the microwave and eating them that way was not going to satisfy so I created these instead Szechuan Takeout Patties. Certainly not health food they sure were a big improvement. They were actually very good! Basically, I had some black beans and some steamed carrots from part of Taylor's dinner (that kid eats best in the house, she loves simple, unseasoned fare). I mashed up some black beans and added them to the tofu which I also mashed up, removing it from the sauce. Some of the sauce became part of the patties but I didn't really add more than what came along with each little clump of tofu. I tried to get some of the peas and carrots that were in the sauce incorporated into the patties as well. I next grated some fresh ginger because I love the stuff and had some on hand from the samosas. I heated up the white rice and added almost the full pint of that. Once mixed, it was a rather loose and wet mixture so I made a slurry of Ener G Egg Replacer and water (about the amount you'd use to simulate two eggs) and stirred that in.
Having only a flavored Stir Fry Oil to fry them in, I went with that. I think it's peanut and soy bean oil based with garlic, ginger and chili.
I fried them in little patties until really brown. Maybe a couple minutes each side on med/hi heat.
I won't lie and say that they held together fabulously. They didn't. They had to be ever so gently turned and most of them stayed together, but not all of them. The rice got really brown and crispy (yum!) and the flavor of the Szechuan sauce was just barely there, which was nice. Once they cooled they were even tastier! I served them up over some heated leftover sauce and topped with the carrots (like you see above).
I loved them so much that they didn't stand a chance of lasting very long. It was all I could do not to snack on them after dinner. The leftovers were devoured with breakfast cold, right out of the fridge by Taylor and I.
Another leftover success!