Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tasty Tofu

Once in a while I run across a recipe which, at first glance, doesn't inspire much anticipation, but once made, is surprisingly delicious. Tonight's dinner, baked tofu and sweet and sour stir-fry with steamed noodles, was one of those meals. I'd like to share it here, so you can try it at home. This was adapted from Moosewood's Simple Suppers:

Toss 1 pkg cubed tofu with 2 T. soy sauce, 1 T. each olive and sesame oil, 1 clove chopped garlic and 2 t. grated ginger. Bake in 400 F oven, stirring once or twice, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, throw together the stir-fry:
1/2 lb. green beans (I used frozen organic beans)
2 tomatoes (cut in chunks)
4 cups finely shredded mixture of purple and green cabbage
1 T. grated ginger
1 1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. Chinese chili paste (I skipped this to make it more kid-friendly, and offered chili sauce at the table)
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. cider vinegar
1 t. cornstarch
1 T. vegetable oil

Have your ingredients nearby and ready-prepared, since everything comes together quickly. Mix ginger, sugar, chili paste, soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Heat oil in a wok. Stir-fry green beans for a couple of minutes, add cabbage and continue to cook for a couple more minutes, then add tomatoes, and cook 2 minutes more. Add sauce and stir-fry tow more minutes, or until the sauce thickens and coats the vegetables. Toss the tofu in with the stir-fry and serve with noodles or rice.

At first blush, the recipe sounded like it might be a little boring. But the tomatoes melted into the sauce and added that lovely umami quality to the dish, and the tofu was perfectly savoury, which balanced nicely with the slightly sweet cabbage and stir-fry sauce. I may have also been extra enthusiastic, since I came home hungry from yoga at 7:45, but even hours later, I'm still looking back on it fondly. From the simplest ingredients, great meals are made.

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