Monday, April 02, 2012

Tofu Stir-Fry

Mr. Minx here. In my ongoing battle to keep my pesky triglycerides down, I've had to seek out new ways to make healthy ingredients interesting enough for me to eat. I've always enjoyed eating vegetables, but usually in small quantities next to a big pile of pasta or mashed potatoes (yes, potato is a vegetable, but really...). Anyway, a recent trip to H Mart yielded a plethora of veggies and tofu, so the only logical thing to do was make a stir-fry dish.

The very sound of those words usually fills me with sad thoughts of my mother's bland combinations of dry chicken breast, broccoli florets, and carrots with virtually no seasoning. It was like eating warm corn flakes. Therefore, I always try to load the pan with lots of spices, but sometimes my overzealous seasoning yields odd results. Also, cooking each component perfectly can be a dodgy proposition. By the time the vegetables are the right texture, the meat is overcooked. At least with tofu, that's not an problem, but proper cooking is still an issue. With my latest concoction, however, I think I finally got it right.

To start, I drained and dried the tofu as best I could before cutting it into one-inch cubes. Then I marinated the tofu using one smashed clove of garlic, about a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, and a few splashes of soy sauce. I left the tofu in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, but a shorter marinade time should be fine.

When I was ready to cook, I put together a sauce using the following ingredients:

1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon of Sriracha
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Mix everything up in a bowl until the sugar and corn starch are mostly dissolved.

Next came the vegetables. I cleaned about 1/2 pound of snow peas; chopped one large carrot into thin strips; and sliced about 5 ounces of king oyster mushrooms into long strips. I also sliced one large shallot and one glove of garlic and put that in a separate container.

With everything prepped, I put about a tablespoon of vegetable oil into a pan on high heat and waited for the pan to get hot enough to cause the oil to smoke. Then I threw the vegetables into the pan and stirred them constantly for about five minutes. After transferring the vegetables to a bowl, I put another tablespoon of oil in the pan and turned the heat down to medium. I tossed in the shallot and garlic and stirred them until the mixture became soft. Then I added the marinated tofu and the sauce into the pan to cook. Once the sauce had thickened, I put the vegetables back into the pan and stirred to incorporate all the elements. A couple minutes and everything was hot enough to plate.

Serve this over some rice and you will have a healthy, satisfying meal.
theminx adds: This recipe, is reminiscent of Chinese sweet-and-sour dishes, although not nearly as sweet or as sour. Also, no bell peppers or pineapple! It borrows heavily from an America's Test Kitchen recipe, so you know it's got to be good. I think the sauce would be perfect on just about any kind of protein.

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