January 17, 2007

Spicy Cabbage Tofu Stir Fry

Wok cooking is quite the opposite from the majority of my cooking repertoire. Most of the dinners I make have room for error. Tons of room. It wasn't until I started trying to cook with a wok that I realized how forgiving salads, sauteed vegetables, soups, stews, risottos, pastas, and baked dishes can be. Need an extra 5 minutes to chop the onions? Go ahead and take it. Need to turn off the heat for a few minutes? Go right ahead. I generally treat cooking dinner as a relaxing not-too-structured creative event.

Asian cooking, at least in a wok, is entirely different. For many of the recipes I've followed as I'm stumbling into this new cooking area, the entire cooking process is finished in 10 minutes. At first I tried to chop ingredients while others were sizzling away, but I'm finally accepting that you really do have to chop *everything* before you heat the oil. Tonight's dinner was excellent, but mainly because E stirred the onions, peppers & garlic in the wok while I chopped the cabbage. It probably only took me 2 minutes to chop the cabbage, but at the high heat, that could have meant that some of the garlic, onions, and peppers might have burnt were it not for E.

Spicy Cabbage Tofu Stir-fry

vegetable oil for high-heat stir frying (I use canola)
1/3 head of napa cabbage, washed and chopped
1/3 yellow onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 red jalapenos, minced

1 package firm tofu, chopped into 1/2 in. cubes
sesame oil
soy sauce
red pepper flakes

1. First make the marinade by mixing 2-3 T sesame oil with equal part soy sauce, 3 tsp (or more) furikake & a dash of red pepper flakes. Pour over the tofu and let soak while you chop the vegetables. Stir/Toss occasionally.

2. Chop vegetables and have them near the wok, ready to go.

3. Heat vegetable oil to high and swirl around the wok. Add the garlic, peppers & onion and stir-fry until onions are slightly clear. Add the cabbage and stir until the cabbage starts to wilt (2-3 minutes).

4. Pour marinade and tofu into the wok. Stir. Bring sauce to a boil, turn to medium heat, cover & let cabbage steam in boiling sauce for another 3-4 minutes ('til tender, but still slightly crisp).

5. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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