Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Broccoli-Tofu (only!) Stir-Fry

I wanted to use the tofu and the broccoli that have been sitting in my fridge for a while so today I improvised this recipe.

Pan-Fried Broccoli and Tofu
serves 2

6 ounces extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons soy sauce (thanks nay!)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (if I had it, I might use rice wine vinegar instead)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bunches broccoli
4 tablespoons of flour
1 egg

Before marinating the tofu, its important to get rid of all the excess liquid in the tofu. This makes the tofu more firm and dense. Wrap the block of tofu in several layers of paper towel or a regular dish and place on a cake pan. Put another cake dish or a plate on top of it and put something heavy over the top dish. I used my bottle of balsamic vinegar but a can of soup would do the job too. Let this sit as long as you can wait. Ideally, you would let this sit several hours (if not longer, according to Alton Brown), but I was starving so 30 minutes was all I could wait. It ended up being not as firm as I would like, so I wish I would have let it drain for longer. Do not skip this step, even the 30 minutes took out loads of moisture.

For the tofu's marinade, mix together the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, oil, and garlic. When the tofu is dry, cut it into small (1-inch) cubes and drop into the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

While the tofu is marinating, you can cook the broccoli (only partially, since you will sautée it later). Cut the bunches of broccoli into florets and rinse quickly. In a large pot, boil 2-3 cups of salted water. Place a bowl of ice water next to the stove. Drop the broccoli into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the broccoli from the pot and drop it into the ice water to stop the cooking and keep the broccoli green and crunchy. When the broccoli has cooled, remove the excess water by dropping the broccoli in a colander.

Place your flour in a small bowl near the stove. Crack and beat the egg in another small bowl. When the tofu has marinated sufficiently, remove it from the fridge and drain on paper towels to remove any extra marinade. Save some of the marinade to add to the stir-fry at the end (this is the beauty of tofu! With meat, you would have had to put this aside at the beginning to avoid cross-contamination). Place a skillet (or wok) on medium-high heat and heat enough oil to coat the bottom. Dip tofu in flour and shake to remove excess flour and then dip into egg mixture. When the oil is hot, drop the floury eggy tofu into the pan and fry for about 2 minutes. After 2 minutes flip the tofu and let it cook 2 minutes on the other side. At this point, add the broccoli to the pan and fry together. After just a couple minutes, you can add more of the marinade to the pan if you think it needs some moisture. If you'd like it to be more solid and chunky, avoid adding any more sauce to it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this recipe. My only regret is that the tofu didn't sit long enough in the towels and it was a little softer than I would have liked. Still, for my first time working with tofu, it was an enjoyable experience.

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