Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bean Curd with a Deliciously Spicy Sauce

After Alex's work retreat this weekend (which I sometimes refer to as "science camp") he requested something light and not buffet-like for dinner.  I figured that tofu was light, and as not buffet-like as you can get.  I guess you might find tofu on some Asian buffets, but I'm fairly certain that you won't find it here in the United States.  I had initially intended to make tofu dengaku, but we were out of red miso.  And we had everything we needed for this recipe.  So I decided this recipe would be an equally tasty alternative.  It's basically a vegetarian version of mapo tofu, only less spicy and with less chili bean paste/fermented black beans.  I have to say that I preferred this dish to the Ma Po Tofu we made back in August.  This dish was far less oily than the Ma Po Tofu, which made the flavors taste cleaner.  You could really taste and savor the flavors of the garlic, ginger and scallions, whereas the flavors in the other dish were a little muddled.  And I think adding just a little of the chili bean paste and/or fermented black beans made the dish taste much lighter.  It was flavorful enough that I didn't miss the ground pork (or beef) at all this dish.  Actually, adding the pork would have just made the whole dish feel a little clunkier.  So I'm glad we left it out.  I found this tofu dish to be totally delicious and satisfying.  Welcome home honey - I hope dinner was everything that you were hoping for.

Recipe after the jump!

Bean Curd with a Deliciously Spicy Sauce
Adapted from World of the East Vegetarian Cooking
By Madhur Jaffrey

2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp chili bean paste
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
3 scallions, white and green parts, very thinly sliced on the bias
14 oz firm tofu, drained on paper towels and cut into 1-inch cubes

Put cornstarch in a small bowl and slowly add in veggie stock, mixing while you add the stock.  Add chili bean paste, soy, sesame oil, salt and sugar.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and ginger.  Stir-fry for 10 seconds.  Add scallions.  Stir-fry for 5 seconds.  Add tofu.  Stir-fry gently for 1 minute, taking care not to break up the tofu.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add sauce and mix gently.  Bring mixture to a simmer.  Let sauce thicken, stirring gently until sauce has thickened and turned glossy, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and gently spoon tofu and sauce into a serving bowl.

Serve with rice.

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