You see, I LOVE tofu. It’s what I eat when I’m not consuming all of these ridiculous sweets…you know, balance. Ish.
Anyway. When I was a very small child, ie baby/toddler status, my parents fed me tofu mashed up with bananas. Apparently I looooved it, to the chagrin/mild disgust of those other than my parents who had to feed it to me, teehee. They say that children imprint on foods when they’re small, which is why you should try to feed them a variety of things early on. Clearly this works. I am firmly imprinted on tofu (though not with bananas anymore, thank god), to the point of even snacking on it plain. ha. And you wonder why I’m such a hippy-granola type?? I was raised on tofu. Duh.
That being said, I like to find new things to do with it. It is such a blank canvas—it takes on any flavor you want, either savory or sweet. Around here, tofu is usually found in peanut sauce with noodles, or more frequently, veggie stir fry (I also apparently imprinted on veggies. whoops). Thanks to Vati, who stir fried all the way through my childhood and up until recently, when I stole the rights to the wok and took over (muahahh). Our stir fry is always suuuuper tasty, and healthy. And fast. And doesn’t require the use of an oven, which is fab, Since it’s still hovering around 90 or 100 around here, and cooking sounds rather unappealing.
This post isn’t exactly a recipe—we use the base recipe out of Vati’s old 1001 Chinese Recipes book, but it’s loosely adapted. Mostly we take whatever veggies happen to be lurking in the fridge and chuck those in, with the obligatory tofu and whatever else sounds good.
Ad-hoc Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry
Loosely adapted from 1001 Chinese Recipes
Firstly. Raid fridge. Determine what tasty veggies might be lurking in the depths attempting to escape notice. Capture them. The goal here is to have a veggie rainbow, for the max amount of color and nutrients!
Get a block of tofu. I like organic firm, since it stands up to tossing better, but it’s up to you. Drain your tofu, and cut it into bite sized chunks. Fill a large-ish bowl (big enough to hold all your tofu) with:
- 1 tbsp organic cornstarch
- 1 tbsp soy stuff (ie soy sauce. however. I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, which has waaaay less sodium, and tastes a bit better, in my opinion. Either works, so pick what you like!)
- 2 tbsp cooking sherry
Stir all of these together until the cornstarch is incorporated. Put the cut tofu in the bowl, allowing the marinade to coat each piece. It’s helpful to kind of toss the tofu with a spoon or your hands, so that they all get marinated. Let sit while you chop veggies.
Also fill a very small-ish bowl with a tablespoon of cornstarch a bit of water and grated pepper. Set aside.
Mince about a teaspoon or two of fresh ginger root. I usually cut approximately three slices from a 1″ root, at about 1/8″ thick. Set these aside.
Now cut your veggies. For this version, I used baby bok choy, red and orange bell pepper, and sugar snap peas (all organic, naturally). Broccoli, carrots, green beans, and water chestnuts are all good as well. Make sure all of your veggies are approximately the same size, and that there is enough of them to balance the amount of tofu (AND enough to create leftovers. This is VERY important… we’ve been known to fight over the leftovers. it gets messy)
Get out your beloved and well seasoned wok. Pour about a tablespoon of organic canola oil in the bottom, and turn on high heat (I use a gas stove, and leave it on high). Other oils are fine too, as long as they have a high smoke point (this means no olive oil, as much as I love it). Let the oil heat. You want it nice and hot, so that the veggies cook quickly without getting soggy. You’ll know the oil is ready when its consistency is closer to water, and it starts to smoke every so slightly.
Toss your ginger into the oil and cover the wok. Be careful of popping oil! It’s no fun to get hit. Let the ginger sit for about a minute, and then chuck in your thickest veggies. With this incarnation, it was the snap peas and the bell peppers. Pour in about a 1/4 to 1/2 c veggie or chicken stock—I never measure for this, so it’s my best guess. Enough to create steam :) With the stock, dump in a metric ton of curry powder (To taste, rather… I’ve almost never had overseasoned stirfry, so you can be pretty liberal with your dumping. If my father had his way, it probably WOULD be a metric ton). Using a spatula, toss your veggies a bit. Cover. Repeat process for remaining veggies (in this case, bok choy), adding stock and curry. When your veggies look like they’re close to being done, add tofu and marinade. Toss. Also add cashews, if desired. I like to add them for a texture difference. Add more curry and stock, if needed (ie, not saucy enough). Cover for a few more minutes.
Remember the smallish bowl of cornstarch and water? Right. Add that at the end, to thicken the sauce at the bottom.Toss a bit more, to help it thicken. The veggies will be really vibrantly colored and soft, but nicely crunchy when finished.
Serve over brown rice or noodles (or sometimes toast, if you’re weird like me). Despite the longish looking recipe, it’s really very easy, and suuuper tasty. Also. It is WAY FUN to eat with chopsticks, which is another thing I apparently imprinted on… I eat everything with them. I mean EVERYTHING.
Enjoy your stir fryyyy! I have leftovers in the fridge, that are mine, miney mine. Hahah, so there, Mutti!