One of my “resolutions’ this year was to make use of my overabundance of food-related magazines. It only took me about 10 weeks to get to it! I cracked open my newest Food Network Magazine where, unfortunately, there are sometimes very few vegetarian recipes. So, I decided to jump on it when there was a tofu stir-fry recipe. I was doing too many things at once, so I let the peanuts burn a bit, but it was still great! Very similar to my kung-pao that I make, due to the peanuts and the chilies, but my squeeze and I both loved it. I served it with steamed mantou (pictured). Mantou is a steamed Chinese bun you can find in the freezer section at Asian markets. I buy them every once in a while at Kai Sun Discount Oriental Market in Troy, where I also got the vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce I use in this recipe. You keep them in the freezer, then just take out however many you want, sprinkle them with water and nuke them for about 3 minutes. Not something we eat often, but a nice addition every once in a while!
Back to the recipe — it was a pretty simple one and was great over brown rice. I used a mixture of the dried red chilies and one large jalapeno, sliced into fourths, all of which we removed before eating. It gave just enough heat without making your nose run! We’ll definitely be repeating this one.
• 6 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
• 3 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (I used rice wine vinegar)
• 1/3 c. vegetarian oyster sauce
• 1 firm block of tofu, drained
• 1 c. unsalted peanuts (preferably raw)
• 1/4 c. peanut (or vegetable) oil
• 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
• 3 cloves minced garlic
• 8 whole dried chilies or 2 jalapenos, sliced horizontally
• 12 oz shiitake mushrooms (I used 2 3.5 oz pkgs, which was just fine)
• 1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced in half (I eyeballed this – no clue how much I had since they were in bulk).
1. Whisk 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with the oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp. water and rice wine in a good-sized bowl or dish.
2. Cut the tofu in half horizontally, forming 2 large rectangles, then cut each rectangle into 4 squares. I cut my slices into 8 squares, but wish I had done as advised. Add to the marinade and turn to coat.
3. Cook the peanuts in the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about four or five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
4. Remove the tofu from marinade, but save the marinade for later. Sprinkle both sides of tofu with the remaining 4 Tbsp. of cornstarch. I did this by sprinkling one side of the tofu, then placing it cornstarch side down in the pan, then sprinkled the other side. Cook each side for about four minutes, until golden, then remove to a plate.
5. Add the ginger, garlic, chilies and/or peppers, 1 tsp. salt (I used less — just a turn or two of the grinder). Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and snap peas; stir-fry until tender crisp (or until the mushrooms look cooked to your liking).
6. Whisk 1 1/2 c. water into the reserved marinade and add to the pan. Stir until thick, 3-5 minutes.
7. Add the tofu and peanuts and heat through. Remove the dried chilies (I chose to also remove the jalapenos I was using). Enjoy!