I bought a large bunch of mint for this lemon mint lentil potato ragout recipe, but didn’t use it all up, and went looking for something to do with all the mint. I found this recipe in Nancie McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai cookbook. It looked pretty simple and called for a whole cup of mint leaves, so Derek and I made it for dinner the other night.
- 8 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 Tbs. oil
- 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
- 1 or 2 fresh green serrano chilies, stemmed and minced
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms
- 1 Tbs. water
- 1 tsp. regular soy sauce
- 1 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 red sweet pepper, cut into 2-inch-long strips
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
- Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan. Gently add the tofu to the water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and place near the stove.
- Heat a wok or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for 30-seconds. Add the oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the garlic and chilies and toss for 10 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook until shiny and softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tofu, 1 Tbs. of water, and both soy sauces and toss for 1 minute. Add the sugar and salt, toss well, and add the sweet pepper and mint. Toss until heated through, about 1 minute.
The head notes say you can use any fresh mushroom. I just used plain criminis, cutting the smaller ones in halves and slicing the larger ones into thick slices. McDermott says that the dark soy sauce is mainly to add a “handsome caramel color” to the dish. I just used regular soy sauce, but perhaps I should have left it out, as the final dish was a tad too salty for me. (Derek, however, thought it was perfect.) We can’t get serrano chilies and so used some other long, skinny green chili.
I was concerned about adding the mint leaves whole to the stirfry. Some of them were so large, I thought it would be better to cut them up. But they wilted so much in the dish that their size was irrelevant.
I quite liked the flavor combination of the fresh mint, the green chilies and garlic, and the mushrooms and sweet stir-fry sauce. The pepper added a nice color, but wasn’t essential flavor-wise.
The only thing I wasn’t as excited about was the way the tofu is cooked. I wish McDermott would explain why you are supposed to boil the tofu for a minute. What’s the point? I think if I make this dish again I’ll pan-fry the tofu first, rather than boiling it.
This recipe is supposed to serve 4, but Derek and I ate the whole thing for dinner (with barley).
Update 11/18/2015: I made this again, and again I quite liked it. It’s a very solid recipe. I even liked the tofu texture (boiled, not crispy) more this time. Derek was less excited than me, but said it was fine.