Needed to use up the section of lotus root and snow peas in my fridge before they spoil. Also had firm and soft tofu in the fridge.
Did not want to make soup (click on link and scroll down for recipe), did not want to fuss, just wanted a simple flavorful dish to go with rice.
Opened my kitchen cabinet door and the 5-spice powder was calling my name. So decided to marinate the tofu with 5-spice powder and make a stir-fry.
This is a very basic recipe. As many of you know, I like to post a basic recipe, give ideas for variations and encourage readers to customize the basic recipe to suit individual needs, taste and available ingredients.
5-Spice Marinated Tofu with Lotus Root & Snow Peas Stir-fry (serves 4 – 5)
• 1 block (14 – 16 ounces) firm or extra firm tofu, drained and cut into about ¼ inch thick bite-sized pieces (I used firm)
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce, regular, dark or gluten free
• 1 – 2 teaspoons maple syrup, optional
• ¼ – 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
• ¼ – 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (used my freshly harvested ginger)
• 1 – 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
In a large mixing bowl combine soy, syrup, 5-spice, ginger and sesame oil. Add tofu and gently toss. Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated.
• 1 section lotus root (½ – ¾ pound), peeled and thinly sliced. Click here to learn about lotus root.
• 4 – 6 ounces snow peas or sugar snap peas
• 4 – 8 ounces red onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 - 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
• 2 - 3 tablespoons oil
• ½ - ¾ cup vegetable broth (used chicken broth I had in the freezer)
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons broth or water. Stir well before adding to wok or frying pan.
• Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (as you can see from photo above I got carried away with the sesame seeds)
1. Drain marinated tofu. Pat dry with clean paper towels.
2. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons oil to preheated non-stick (or well-seasoned cast iron) frying pan. Heat to near smoking. Add tofu pieces in single layer, when browned, turn and brown the other side. Remove browned pieces to a clean plate and set aside. Discard oil if desired.
3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok or frying pan, if needed. Add salt and garlic, stir-fry about 10 seconds or until garlic starts to color.
4. Add lotus root, snow peas and onion. Stir-fry until snow peas becomes bright green. Adding broth 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, if wok or frying pan is dry and to prevent burning.
5. Add browned tofu and broth. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook until vegetables reach desired doneness. Thicken with cornstarch mixture, adjust taste and serve hot over rice, noodles or pasta.
∞ Chinese 5-spice powder is a blend of star anise, Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorns, fennel, Chinese cinnamon and cloves. If unavailable leave out or check out VARIATIONS below.
∞ If you do not wish to pan fry the tofu, skip step 2. Add drained marinated tofu during step 5.
◊ Substitute: 1 - 3 teaspoons curry powder for the 5-spice powder
◊ Add: Sliced fresh chillies to taste during step 3 or 4
◊ Add: 1 – 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, ¼ – 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce and 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil to cornstarch mixture
◊ Add dried cranberries or other dried fruit of choice
◊ Add toasted cashew, peanuts or other nuts of choice
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