Monday, April 24, 2017

Spicy Peanut & Tofu Stir-Fry



Is it possible to die of sleep deprivation? Is it normal to fall asleep in the shower? Will the baby ever sleep? I'm sure every new parent ever has asked these questions. What does this have to do with stir fry? Not a thing. Wait, maybe I can salvage a decent segue:

If someone this tired can pull off this yummy stir fry recipe, then anyone can!

Did you see that? I still have some brain function left.

Joking aside (but really, I'm so tired), This recipe is super easy to make, really healthy, and so freakin' flavorful. Join me in making it, and feel free to use it to impress your friends.

Let's get started!


Getting Started





This recipe starts with tofu. I have to admit that I haven't always liked tofu. When I first became vegetarian I couldn't stand it, in fact. I felt like a veggie failure! Like it was some kind of unspoken vegetarian requirement to love tofu. But I realized along the way that I really just didn't know what to do with it. Sometimes I'm still not sure if I'm doing it right, but I like how it turns out, so that's the important thing! And now I can feel like a self respecting veg.

Take your package of extra firm tofu and drain the liquid. Remove the tofu and pat dry with some paper towels.

Next cut your tofu block down the middle and then into slices a little less than 1/2 inch thick. You should have about 18-20 pieces when done. You could also cut your tofu into cubes, but I find it easier this way - you only have to cook it on two sides instead of six.

Heat 1 Tbs of peanut oil on medium high in a good, large nonstick pan. I actually bought a new pan after trying this recipe for the first time. I had to use 3 Tbs of oil in the old pan to prevent the tofu from sticking! That's just too much oil for me, especially now that I'm on my quest to lose this stubborn-ass baby weight. I really didn't have to spend that much money (under $20) to get a much better pan that keeps the tofu from sticking. If you don't have a nonstick pan, and don't plan to buy one, you may need more oil.

Lay all of the pieces (or as many as will fit) into the hot pan and cook on each side until golden. Not sure why, but tofu takes a while to brown. It takes about 6-8 min on each side or so. My pan doesn't heat up completely evenly (probably because I paid less than $20). If yours is the same, then just take out the pieces as they get done and keep cooking the pieces that take a little longer.

Place cooked pieces on a dish lined with paper towels to catch excess oil. It's okay if the pieces cool down a little before adding to the rest of your stir-fry.



Because the tofu takes a while to cook, that gives you a chance to get all of your other ingredients prepared. Wash, cut, and measure everything out; and whisk together your sauce.

Using a large wok, heat 1 Tbs peanut oil on high. Add in all of your veggies and toss often to prevent from burning. Let the cauliflower brown a little, then add the sauce mixture. Mix to coat well, let it come to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium/medium-high (keep a simmer) and cover. Take the cover off and stir the veggies every few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, and your veggies are tender. If your veggies get tender before the sauce has reduced, remove the lid and let the sauce finish reducing. If the sauce starts to reduce too much before the veggies are done, you can add a bit more water - but not too much! Finally, add your tofu, which should be done by now, and mix well to coat. Toss in your roasted peanuts at the very end and serve.

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, broken into pieces. Cut larger florets into easily eatable pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally
2 green onions, cut into approx. 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 Tbs peanut oil, divided
1 package extra firm tofu

Sauce:

4 large cloves garlic, finely diced
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh ginger, or 1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbs natural peanut butter
1/3-1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cornstarch (note: I wanted to thicken the sauce a bit more, so I added this. I really can't tell you if only 1/2 tsp actually did anything, but I like how it turned out, so I'm leaving it).

Optional topping:
1/4 cup roasted, lightly salted peanuts. Make sure to add this at the end, so the peanuts don't get "washed" off in the cooking process. They will be more flavorful this way.


Servings: 4-6


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