Friday, October 07, 2005

MeBeth Eats Tofu

I made a delicious stir fry last night and I think it was actually quite healthy, and may have even been vegan. As usual, this is based on an epicurious recipe. During the week I tend to stick to my standby favorite dinners, many of which are adapted from Gourmet or Bon Appetit and published on epicurious. On the weekends I’ll experiment with my own recipes or try more adventurous ideas. But these weeknight recipes can really be quite tasty, and so I love to pass them on.


For the marinade
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (or a little more, if you are me)

The rest of the stuff
half of one 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 ounces mushrooms in ½” slices
4 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed (or substitute asparagus, snow peas, whatever)
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 green onions, sliced on diagonal
Olive oil
Brown rice – enough for 2 large servings.

Mix the marinade and add the cubed tofu – put in the fridge for at least ½ hour. It will look like this.

Start cooking brown rice. When you have about 10 - 15 minutes left on the rice, start your stir fry. Remove the tofu from the marinade and reserve the marinade in a bowl. Add the water and cornstarch to marinade and let sit. Cook the tofu in olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat – I like my tofu well done so I cook for at least 5-7 minutes, until it gets brown and crispy looking on the outside. Remove tofu from the pan. Add mushrooms to the pan and sauté till soft (usually at least 3 minutes), add snap peas (or whatever vegetable) and green onions, sauté till snap peas turn bright green and onions soften, add garlic & ginger, stir often, till it starts to stick to the veggies (1 min or less). Return tofu to pan and add marinade, boil down till the sauce is thick and sticky (not very long at all). Remove from heat and serve over rice. It will look like this…

The original recipe calls for ½ as much sauce, less cooking time on the tofu, the addition of salt and pepper, the use of shitake mushrooms rather than whatever mushroom is on sale at the market, less green onion and garlic, etc. As you can tell, I like to add a little spice with the extra pepper, garlic, green onions, etc. If you wanted to tone this recipe down, you could omit or decrease the amounts of these ingredients. Although it is great with snow peas and snap peas, my favorite was asparagus. I think broccoli would also be a perfectly fine substitute. You could probably use pretty much any vegetable you found lurking around in the fridge. I think this recipe is vegan other than the honey, but I’m not sure.

My recommendation – great for using up veggies and having a healthy and quick meal!


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