Tofu, a bland product, will take on the flavor of whatever food it is cooked with. It is happy with any meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables as its partner. Because it is bland, it will absorb whatever seasonings used to flavor it making it the ideal food product to experiment and have fun.
The tofu pieces in the photo at left were marinated using 2 different kinds of soy sauces. The pieces on the left side of the photo were marinated with dark soy sauce, the pieces on the right of the photo were marinated using regular (or light in color) soy sauce.
You can also see a difference after they were pan-fried, photo above right. The dark soy sauce contains molasses, food marinated in it will brown more and faster.
Marinated Tofu, Asparagus & Portabella Mushroom Stir-fry
8 – 12 ounces extra firm tofu, drain and cut into about ¼ inch thick bite-sized pieces
1 – 1½ tablespoons soy sauce, regular, dark or gluten free
¼ teaspoon honey, optional
¼ teaspoon ground black or white pepper or to taste
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Combine all the above well. Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated.
1 pound asparagus, peeled and slant cut into about ½ inch thick slices
½ red onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 portabella mushroom, remove and discard stem. Scrape away (optional) and discard gills (see NOTE). Cut cap into bite-sized pieces.
1 tablespoon fermented black beans (optional)
1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ – 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
2 – 3 tablespoons oil
½ – ¾ cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons broth or water. Stir well before adding to wok or frying pan.
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) wok or frying pan. Heat to near smoking. Add tofu pieces and brown. Remove browned pieces to a clean plate and set aside. Discard oil if desired.
3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok ro frying pan, if needed. Add fermented black beans and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant. Mix in chili and salt.
4. Add Asparagus, onion and mushroom. Stir-fry until asparagus 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 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.
NOTE: Removing the gills from portabella mushroom before slicing is purely for aesthetic reason. The gills break apart from the cap during stir-frying giving the finished dish a not so nice looking appearance.
Copyright © by Norma Chang