This is not a stir-fry
A while ago I blogged about how small impediments can stop us from eating well and why I never cook stir frys.
I love eating them. They’re quick, tasty and healthy. You can add in lots and lots of vegetables, change around the flavours, use some low fat protein. What’s not to like?
Instead I don’t cook stir frys because I hate cleaning the wok afterwards.
So this meal is what I make instead. It has many of the elements of a stir fry, but without the actual wok usage. Since my small impediments post, this has become one of the most common meals I make. And as with almost everything I cook, it’s very flexible.
Notes on the recipe
- I use whatever vegetables are in the house. In this version I’ve added carrot, fennel and pak choy. But it could just as easily be zucchini, snowpeas, spinach, daikon, capsicum, onion – anything that cooks quickly.
- You could use meat or prawns, instead of tofu.
- The impact of this dish is in the dressing. It’s tangy, salty and has plenty of oomph and flavour. I often tweak it, depending on what’s in the house. Fish sauce, lime juice, tahini, fresh chillies, even mustard are regular additions.
- Usually I cook the tofu on a stove-top grill plate but a non-stick frying pan would do just as well. I also use Hippolyra’s method of oven baking tofu if I have time.
- I find I don’t need to use any extra oil, when cooking the tofu on a grill plate – but you may need some.
Not a stir fry: tofu & vegetables
- 300g tofu
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- About 400g vegetables – in this version I used 1 carrot, 2 heads of pak choy and 1/2 fennel bulb
- Canola oil for cooking the tofu (optional)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons shoyu
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
Prep the tofu: Cut the tofu into 0.5 cm thick slices. Sprinkle the sesame seeds onto a plate and press the tofu slices into the seeds, so they’re all coated with a smattering of seeds.
Prep the vegetables: Cut the vegetables into thin pieces. The kind of size you’d use in stir frying. I julienned the carrots and sliced the fennel into strips about 0.5cm thick. I cut the end off the pak choy bunch and left the leaves whole.
Make the dressing: Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
Cook the tofu: Put a grill plate on a medium heat and add the oil if using. Place the tofu slices on the plate and cook for 3 – 4 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden. The seeds may start to manically pop at the end, but don’t let this put you off.
Steam the vegetables: While the tofu is cooking, put the vegetables on to steam. I only cook them for a few minutes, as I like them a bit under-done and crunchy. I added the carrot and fennel first. Then the pak choy after 2 minutes and continued cooking for another 2 minutes.
To serve: Divide the vegetables between 2 plates and top with tofu. Drizzle over the dressing and serve immediately.