Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tofu Stir-Fry with Mushrooms and Asparagus

For a long time, I wanted to cook tofu but was always afraid to be left with a big bland mess of a dish. As I have been trying to cut back on meat and seafood, but not on my protein intake, I decided to keep trying tofu recipes and cooking methods. The key is to use firm or extra-firm tofu and drain it really well to remove excess moisture, allowing more flavor to be absorbed while cooking.

This recipe is the result of several others thrown together. I am glad I was taking notes as I was making it since my husband proclaimed it was “excellent” (he is by no means a tofu fanatic!) and a definite keeper! Yay!

You can substitute green beans or broccoli florets for the asparagus (make sure you cut off the tough ends), but I recommend keeping the mushrooms as they add a “meaty” flavor to the dish.

As for the hoisin or black bean sauce, just use what you prefer or have on hand. Of course (you know me by now!), I highly encourage you to make the sauce for scratch since the store-bought jars are usually loaded with sugar, salt and preservatives (and possibly artificial flavors and MSG). I found a great recipe for black bean sauce on Closet Cooking and I am still tweaking this Hoisin recipe to get it just the way I want it to taste, I'll keep you posted!

Serve this tofu, mushroom & asparagus stir-fry with brown or jasmine rice, (and if you're weird like me, sip on hot green tea) and you have a tasty healthy vegetarian dinner.

Serves 4
  • 1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and cut into ½-inch cubes = 450 g de tofu extra-ferme, pressé et coupé en dés
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds = 2 cuillères à soupe de graines de sésame
  • ¼ teaspoon salt = une pincée de sel
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided = 2 cuillères à café d'huile de sésame
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced = 450 g de champignons bruns (cremini), émincés
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 2-inch sections = 450 g d'asperges vertes, coupées en tronçons de 4-5 cm
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced = 2 oignons verts, émincés
  • ½ cup vegetable broth = 120 ml de bouillon de légumes
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin or (fermented) black bean sauce = 1 cuillère à soupe de sauce Hoisin ou de sauce aux haricots noirs fermentés (dans les épiceries asiatiques)
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce = 1 cuillère à soupe de sauce soja (allégée en sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch = 1 cuillère à café de maïzena
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (fresh ground chili paste) or crushed red pepper flakes (optional) = ½ à 1 cuillère à café de sambal oelek ou flocons de piment rouge (facultatif)

Combine sesame seeds and salt in a large bowl. Add the tofu and toss gently to coat.

Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, then the tofu cubes and stir-fry 7 to 10 minutes. Remove tofu from wok and keep warm.

Pour the last teaspoon of sesame oil in the wok, add mushrooms and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add asparagus and stir-fry for another 3 minute. Reduce heat to medium and stir in green onions.

Combine broth, hoisin or black bean sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch and chili paste. Add to wok and top with tofu. Toss gently to combine. Turn the heat off and let sauce thicken for a couple of minutes. Serve right away. Enjoy!

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