I've been working on my stir-frying skills a lot lately, spurred on by: 1) a profusion of vegetables arriving in our crisper every week because we subscribed to a CSA box, 2) my introduction to the Tahnanh Son Tofu Manufacturing store, a few blocks from where I work, where fresh (still warm!) tofu that is 100 times better than anything you will ever find in a supermarket can be had for $1.25/pound, and 3) the realization that this combined with the uber-cheap noodles to be had at any number of stores in the ID makes for quick, healthy, and very affordable meals.
Last night I think I nailed it to the wall.
Brian's as-yet-nameless awesome tofu dish:
(all measurements are approximations)
1 lb tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 Tbs fried chili paste (less if you have a sensitive stomach...seriously)
1 Tbs natural peanut butter (i.e., just smashed peanuts with no oils added)
a few shakes of fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 inch ginger, diced
1 head of broccoli, chopped medium-fine
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 large or 1/2 small head of red cabbage, sliced(I'm sure green would be fine, too, or some chopped bok choy)
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2" squares
a couple of handfuls mung bean sprouts
fresh ground black pepper
1. Whisk chili paste, peanut butter, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice together in a bowl until more or less homogeneous. Toss with tofu. Set aside while prepping the vegetables.
2. Whisk a couple pinches of corn starch together with just enough water to make a slurry, and set aside.
3. Heat a large wok on high until a drop of water boils away on contact. Then add enough oil to liberally cover the bottom, and heat until nearly smoking (if you heat the wok propperly first, this should take no more than a minute.)
4. Shaking off (but reserve) excess marinade, add the tofu to the wok. There is a lot of water hitting a lot of oil here, so BE CAREFUL. (I recommend rolling a few pieces down the side of the wok at a time...don't just plunge it all straight into the oil at once.) Fry in the oil, for several minutes, turning periodically, until the tofu is browned on all sides.
5. Push the tofu to the edges and make a well in the middle. Add the garlic and ginger, and fry that for 20-30 seconds (do not let it brown!).
6. Add all of the veg except the sprouts, and stir fry that until the onions and cabbage start to wilt. Everything should be well-coated in the chili/peanut/oil mixture at this point, with little to no liquid in the pan. Add the sprouts, a few shakes of soy sauce, and pepper to taste, and stir fry another minute or so. Then add the reserved marinade and the cornstarch slurry, and stir fry another minute. Remove immediately to a (heat-safe!) bowl.
7. Serve over noodles (or rice) and top with fried shallots (a bit of a specialty item, but available in Vietnamese-oriented grocery stores.)