12 June 2013
Giant tofu stirfry with mixed vegetables and peanut butter
A little while ago I had a delightful noontime visit from my friend Chrissy, who had driven over the mountain from Santa Cruz to go to multiple interviews in one day. YIKES. Clearly, she needed some relaxing downtime in the form of a delicious lunch she didn't have to think about at all. So I broke out the biggest frying pan I have, turned on the rice cooker, and turned out a huge batch of vegan tofu stir-fry stuffed with shredded cabbage and carrot, nice chunks of broccoli, and sweet red bell pepper. Hooray!
I used peanut oil because it has a high smoke point and I like the flavor it adds to the dish. If you're serving someone with a nut allergy, you can simply switch out the peanut oil for vegetable oil and eliminate the peanut butter. Something like tahini or sunflower seed butter might be a good substitute, depending on the specific allergy. But this is also great with no nut content whatever. No worries.
Giant tofu stirfry with mixed vegetables and peanut
peanut oil/veg oil
all the other veg in the house
rice wine vinegar
Start in advance by pressing your tofu. Slice the tofu in half horizontally, keeping both pieces as even as possible, and sandwich them between two cutting boards. Weight the whole business down with a pot full of water or something similarly heavy, and let sit for an hour or so. I like to put a towel under one end of the bottom cutting board and hang the other end over the lip of the sink, so all the liquid drains into the sink itself.
When you're ready to cook, slice your tofu into 1-inch cubes. Brush on both sides with a sprinkling of soy sauce, sriracha, and sesame oil. Heat a frying pan to medium-high, add a few dabs of peanut oil, and rotate to coat. Then slide in all your tofu. Fry, tossing occasionally, until your tofu is golden brown and delightful on all sides.
While your tofu is cooking, slice up all your aromatics and vegetables. You can use practically any veg you have in the house for a stir-fry of this nature. I used everything in the ingredient list; things like bok choy, mushrooms, or green pepper would be great additions as well.
When your tofu is done, tip it out of the pan and set it aside. Add another dab of peanut oil and tip in the onions. Cook until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another few minutes. Then start gradually adding in your main vegetables, starting with those that take longer to cook (broccoli, carrot) and ending with those that don't take so long (cabbage, red pepper). Season the pan with soy sauce and sriracha (and powdered ginger, if you don't have fresh) with your first vegetable addition.
When all of your vegetables are tender, add a big spoonful of peanut butter to the pan, along with a bit more soy sauce and sriracha as needed. You might want to add a little bit of water to help melt the peanut butter as well. Add your cooked tofu and toss together over slightly lowered heat until the peanut butter has melted and coated everything and the tofu is hot through. When everything is ready, take the pan off the heat and stir in a splash of rice wine vinegar.
Serve over rice or your choice of noodle. Udon would clearly be pretty great. I think I'd make a spicy peanut-soy sauce separately instead of pouring small bits of everything right into the pan in that case, though.
We ate our stirfry over long-grain brown rice, and then Chrissy went off, full & happy, to her next appointment. Such a satisfying lunch.
What kind of dishes do you love to serve your friends?