Monday, March 19, 2012

Tofu Stir Fry Basics

Looking over the pictures from the last few weeks, I can see that I've made a whole bunch of tofu stir fries. I'll do posts with the specifics of the sauces, but there are some basics to how to stir fry.

You really want to start by pressing the tofu.  You can press the tofu between two plates, or under a bowl with some water in it.  However you do it, if you get some of the moisture out, it will absorb more flavor.  At one point, David bought us a lovely little tofu press on  It's not super cheap, but I'd sent more bowls of water crashing onto the kitchen floor than I care to count!  So, for us this little gizmo was worth the $35 bucks.

Here's a stir fry basic recipe:
Press about 5 oz of tofu (this is a third of the cube that you get a normal size pack of tofu, and is a perfect amount for 2 average adults)
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on your preferences
1-2 T oil, I use olive for everything. Others prefer canola or peanut.
a variety of vegetables - you really can stir fry almost anything. We love - carrots, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, pea pods, spinach, and peppers. Use what you love - leave out what you don't.

Chop the veggies into roughly bite-sized pieces, and as you chop them, sort them by hardness - carrots and brussels sprouts are super hard, broccoli, asparagus, are medium, pea pods and bean sprouts are pretty soft. Greens go last. Mushrooms are the exception. They are soft, but I like them well cooked. You want about 4 cups of chopped veggies for two people for supper.

Stir fry in this order:
1. Onions and garlic: 2-3 minutes
2. Tofu: 5 minutes or so
3. Mushrooms: can add with the tofu
4. Hard veggies: 5 minutes
5. Medium veggies: 3-5 minutes
6. Soft veggies: 2-3 minutes
7. Just before taking off the heat, throw in any greens like spinach: 1 minute or less

You know that you are done when green vegetables turn BRIGHT green. If you stop too soon they are too hard.  If you stop too late, they are squashy. You'll make a few mistakes at the start, but keep going. You can have a super inexpensive and scrumptious dinner on the table in 20-30 minutes, 

Top with some kind of sauce. You can be minimalist and just add a bit of soy. Or, in some following posts, I'll share some ideas.

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