Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fantastic Vegan Stir Fry

Our 'fall back' dish is stir fry. It's so simple, so good and so good for you! I love to do stir fry with tofu but was having a hard time getting the 'crusty' texture without frying the pieces first. I finally figured it out and it does make the tofu (and stir fry) better!

1 1/2 cups carrot (I buy the 'mandolined' {sp.} kind, but you could just mandoline your own)
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped chunky
2 to 2 1/2 cups broccoli, depending on how much you want. Cut it into slightly larger than bite size pieces (we like a lot of broccoli!)
1 med onion cut very chunky
1 to 1 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups snow peas or sugar snap peas
2 to 2 1/2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
2 pkgs extra firm tofu (I like the kind not in the tray... reason? Maybe it's only around this area, but the 'tray tofu' is not firm... not even when they say extra firm. The kind in plastic 'non tray' pakagin is really firm)
Tamari for marinating, etc.
Oil for 'frying'
Your choice of eggless egg noodles, soba noodles or delicious brown rice

Open your tofu and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Put into a bowl and add tamari... probably about 1/4 cup. Enough to 'cover' the pieces but not drown them in it. Toss and let marinate for a moment.

Meanwhile, boil your pasta or rice of choice. When I do rice, I make rice via my favorite way... see post link! Or I buy the most fantastic Trader Joe's frozen cooked brown rice and make it easy. Either way! If I do pasta, I cook like pasta... :)

In the 'need' department, I say chop all the veg. Unless you live next to a Marks and Spencer or possibly Trader Joe's, you will have to chop all your veg yourself. Now is the time to do that.

Also, prepare your pan. I use our electric wok, which is fantastic!! You can also use a large skillet but really, if you like stir fry, invest in a wok. (Plus: you don't have to use it just for stir frying!) Add a little oil and heat on high. If you're using a wok, do the 'sear' setting. If you're not on a wok, prepare your pan on high heat.

Once tofu has marinated for a minimum of 10 min or so, (you could marinate it overnight or longer than 10 min, You really can't mess it up; just make sure it soaks for a good 10) transfer to your hot wok and listen to the sear! Even out your pieces across the wok and let sear on high heat for about 5 minutes. Resist the temptation to flip them... they do need to sear for a while on each side to get the 'crispy' aspect. After your five minutes is up, flip the pieces as best you can and continue to sear. Note: you really don't have to 'flip' each individual tofu piece; this would take forever. Just do the best you can :)

Our wok is non stick so I don't have to worry about chunks sticking, falling apart, etc... I still use oil but this step really depends on your equipment.

Once tofu is properly seared, about 11 or 16 minutes total, (but just keep an eye on it. It may need more or less depending on your equipment) transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In your newly empty wok, add a bit more oil (like 1 tsp) and add all veg except bok choy. Let simmer on medium/low heat (I like crunchy veg) for about 6 or so minutes. From there, add bok choy, about 1 tablespoon extra tamari (more if you want) mix well, cover and let cook for a few more minutes. I am being very vague about timing because, as I said, it really does depend on your cooking aparati.

Remember to keep stirring.

When your veg has reached the ideal teture, add in the tofu, cover and raise heat for only about one minute. Turn off and get ready to serve!

Choose your choice of serving: plate, bowl, family style. This can be eaten on it's own or with some fantastic appetizer like pot stickers!


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