So, I've already mentioned that I've gotten the family to sign on to the whole tofu thing. It wasn't exactly hard. While I won't deny that I've had tofu prepared in ways that justify its reputation, I quite like the stuff as a general rule. Our daughter is one of its biggest fans. It's the spouse that needed convincing, and convincing took a while. He too had "enjoyed" tofu prepared in some ways that left a little to be desired and let's face it, bean curd kind of conjures up images of self-righteous people who wander around carrying signs picketing barbeque joints. Since he's a barbeque artist, that's going to rub him exactly the wrong way. Convincing took a two pronged approach. The first was obvious: cook tofu in ways that taste good. I've said it before but it's probably worth saying again here: the fact that a food doesn't contain dead animals doesn't mean that it should be a punishment to eat it. By itself tofu doesn't have a lot of flavor, but if you do it right it can be just as good as meat.
The second prong of the attack was cost. The cost of tofu depends on where you buy it but on average I'm paying about $2.00 per block. A similar size piece of chicken breast - which would have similar applications - would cost about $4.00 - $6.00, depending on how scrupulous I'm feeling about where the chicken is coming from. Replacing meat with tofu a couple of nights a week cuts costs. I will admit that I had to promise that we were going neither vegetarian nor vegan, though.
Anyway, I'd planned to do this last week but I completely spaced and forgot to buy tofu. This week I remembered. I made this with just some stuff that I had on hand. I could have been a little happier with the texture of the finished tofu but I could have probably accomplished that by draining it in a strainer under a little bit of weight for a little while. I didn't have time - the toddler was pitching a series of successive temper tantrums like a cascading waterfall that made a twenty minute dish take an hour and twenty minutes to prepare as it was. I liked it well enough anyway. There was broccoli, after all, and ginger.
Tofu with Broccoli and Ginger (serves 4; approx. $1.89/serving)
1 block extra-firm tofu, diced
3 broccoli crowns, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger salt
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 cup tamari (soy sauce is fine)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon hot pepper sesame oil
- Large wok
- Small bowl
- Combine 1/4 cup cold vegetable broth with 1 tablespoon corn starch in the small bowl and set aside.
- Combine the remaining broth with the tamari and the vinegar and set aside.
- Heat the oils in the wok.
- Add the tofu and stir-fry about 3 - 4 minutes.
- Push the tofu up the sides of the wok. Add the onions, garlic and ginger salt.
- Stir-fry until the onions are soft.
- Add the broccoli. Stir-fry until the broccoli is starting to become tender - just starting - and has become well coated with the pan mixture.
- Add the broth-and-tamari mixture and bring to a boil.
- Cook until the broccoli is tender enough for your liking. I preferred it to have a little bit of crunch.
- Add the cornstarch and broth mixture and stir until the sauce is thickened, less than thirty seconds.
- Serve hot.