I finally got a chance to try an easier version of the crisp marinated and baked tofu. I skipped the pressing and the cornstarch dredging steps and simply poured the marinade directly onto the tofu and baked it. It was a hit, both with Derek and with Alma. And I didn’t miss the cornstarch or pressing steps at all. I think the texture turned out just fine. Read the rest of this entry »
I wanted to use up some brussels sprouts and cilantro, and found this recipe for a tofu, sprout stirfry on 101cookbooks. It looked interesting, and we had all the ingredients on hand, so Derek and I gave it a try for lunch yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »
Deborah Madison says that this stir-fry is one of the tastiest ways she’s found to cook tempeh. And since Derek loves tempeh, and I’m normally less of a fan, I decided to give it a try. The technique was new for me. The tempeh is soaked in a hot marinade for a few minutes, and then briefly and lightly pan-fried, after which it’s glazed with a bit more of the marinade. Then the peppers and cabbage are cooked with garlic and ginger and scallions and the rest of the marinade. Read the rest of this entry »
When I visited China I found it quite difficult to find vegetarian food, but I usually didn’t have to worry about breakfast. Most hotels offered a big pot of congee–basically porridge made from white rice. It seems to be the Chinese version of oatmeal, except that instead of maple fruit, nuts, and fruits, the congee was served with meats, stir-fried vegetables, chili pastes, and pickles of various sorts. I really enjoyed the combination of the hot creamy congee and the stir-fried Chinese greens. An excellent breakfast. Today I had some bok choy that I wanted to use up and I was excited to come across this New York Times recipe for congee with bok choy and scallion oil. It’s from a vegetarian Chinese cookbook: “From the earth: Chinese vegetarian cooking” by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo. Read the rest of this entry »
I threw together a quick skillet of veggie fried rice today, and Derek said it was excellent and I should blog about it. Unfortunately, I didn’t measure anything, but here’s my best guess at what I did. Read the rest of this entry »
I make Madhur Jaffrey’s sesame noodles all the time. It’s one of Derek’s favorite dishes. Tonight when I asked him what he wanted for dinner he said “chiliquiles!” but all my tortillas were frozen, so he went with his second choice–sesame noodles. I agreed, but didn’t tell him that I wasn’t going to make our standard recipe. I had recently come across a recipe for cold sesame noodles from Nancie McDermott’s Quick and Easy Chinese: 70 Everyday Recipes. I really like McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai cookbook, so I decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
I cannot make Chinese food to save my life. My special talent is ruining stir-fries. Yet I keep trying. Today I started with a recipe for stir-fried tofu and bok choy in ginger sauce from Cooks Illustrated’s The Best Light Recipe and modified it to fit what was in the fridge. I ended up with a tofu, broccoli, carrot, scallion, ginger, garlic stir-fry. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a quick Chinese-inspired dish I whipped up for lunch today.
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.) [optional]
- 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 pound medium firm tofu
- 1 pound bok choy
- 2 shallots
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger , minced (about 1 tablespoon) [optional]
- In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic cloves, and chili flakes. Slice the tofu into long rectangles (about .75” x .75” x 2”).
- In a 12-inch non-stick skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil until a drop of water sizzles. Add the tofu in a single layer. Do not move the tofu once you’ve placed it down.
- While the tofu cooks, wash and cut up your bok choy. Break the bok choy into individual leaves, and remove the green part from the white stems. Chop the stems into bite-sized pieces, halving vertically any particular fat stems. When the stems are all chopped, throw them into the pan, filling up any spaces not taken by the tofu, and letting the rest of the pieces rest on top of the tofu.
- When the tofu has browned on the first side, toss everything making sure that each tofu piece ends up on an unbrowned side. While the second side browns, slice the bok choy leaves into fat ribbons, and slice the shallots into 1/4 inch pieces. Add the shallots to the pan. Toss again, getting a third side of each tofu rectangle down this time.
- When the third side of tofu is browned, throw in the bok choy leaves and the soy sauce mixture. Stir fry for about 1 minute, until the leaves are wilted. Eat immediately.
You could serve this over rice or another grain, but we just ate it plain. It’s salty, but not over the top salty. The bok choy stems and shallots get nicely caramelized, and the tofu ends up crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s a satisfying dish.
If you use the ginger, add it about 30 seconds before the soy sauce mixture.
I read about Chinese long beans (or yard-long beans) in a Chinese vegetarian cookbook I checked out of the library ages ago, and decided to try them when I passed them in the Asian grocery in the Strip District. They’re not actually a whole yard long, more like 1.5 feet long. I snapped off the ends because they were a different color, but I’m not sure if I needed to. I tried cooking them using the method Cook’s Illustrated touts for cooking tough supermarket green beans, but I didn’t leave them in long enough so they were still quite crunchy. I put foil down on my cookie sheet before putting them in the oven, and then when using a spatula to remove the green beans the foil kept coming off as well. Next time I should just scoop them off with my hands into a bowl, then add the sauce.
What the long beans look like.
I also got fermented black soybeans at the Strip. I’d heard of fermented black beans before but never realized they are actually soybeans. Is it possible that miso is just pureed fermented black soybeans? I soaked the beans briefly then rinsed them off before adding them to my sauce. I based my recipe mostly on the fermented black bean sauce recipe in Cook’s Illustrated, but adjusted the amounts a bit, and added some chili paste as well:
See a picture of what the fermented black beans look like
Spicy Fermented Black Bean Sauce
2 Tbs. fermented black soybeans, rinsed
1.5? Tbs. ginger, minced
1/2? Tbs. granulated sugar
6? Tbs. sherry
4? Tbs. vegetable broth
2? Tbs. garlic, minced
2? Tbs. soy sauce
1? Tbs. sesame oil
1/2? tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
2? tsp. chili paste
Okay, I’m not certain about most of the amounts, so I’ll have to make it again and double check. What’s listed here is double the original recipe, and it made quite a bit of sauce, more than enough for one bunch of long beans.
Derek really liked the sauce: he said it tasted almost like the sauce in a Chinese restaurant, except it needed to be saltier. I, however, found it plenty salty, but also thought it tasted quite authentic. I’ll definitely be making this sauce again.
The beans seemed a little more starchy and a little less sweet than regular green beans, but that may have just been because I didn’t cook them long enough. I’ll have to try them again.
Jan 2007: I found another black bean sauce recipe in the cookbook Savoring the Day by Judith Benn Hurley. It suggests putting it over 1 head (about 1 pound) of broccoli, steamed.
- 1 Tbs. Chinese fermented black beans, rinced and minced
- 1 tsp. mirin or dry sherry
- 2 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. miso
- 1/3 cup vegetable stock
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. arrowroot
- 1 Tbs. water
- 2 tsp. minced fresh chives
Combine all the ingredients except the arrowroot, water, and chives in a small saucepan over high heat and boil until reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot, water, and chives, pour into the sauce and stir constantly until slightly thickened, about 25 seconds. Remove the sauce from the heat and toss with the broccoli. Serve warm. Makes 4 servings.
Okay, this was inedible. I don’t know why, but I took one bite and could not take another. I tossed it. Luckily I had only poured the sauce on one serving worth of broccoli, so I just ate the rest of the broccoli with yeast and soy sauce. Much, much, better.