Mark and I have been a schosh wary of attempting certain ethnicities of foods- some Chinese and Thai, some Mexican, etc.  We can just get better food at a restaurant that has people of that particular ethnicity preparing the menu and food.  Or so we thought.  Score a huge point for IV tonight for whipping up a dern good stir fry in as copy-cat authentic a manner as possible.  The veggies were crispy!  The tofu firm and yummy!  Ironically, I did not learn how to make tonight's meal from someone from China or Thailand.  No.  I learnt it by observing the cooking prowess of a Spanish-British-Canadian in Iceland.  That's right.  Thank you Juliana España Keller for showing me how to make a decent Asian dish.  Here goes nothin'!

Authentish Summer Stir-Fry

  • 1.5 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 3 cups water for the rice
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, cut into petals
  • one head of garlic, each bulb peeled and cut into thin slices
  • a smallish chunk of ginger, sliced finely
  • a head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • a handful of snowpeas, whole
  • about 1/2 cup Chinese cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2 small to medium-sized carrots, cut into thin diagonal slices
  • about 1/4 cup fresh coriander, leaves only (no stems)
  • 3/4 of a 1 lb. block of tofu, frozen, then thawed
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp chili sauce/paste
  • 1 tsp thai curry past (any flavor)- we used red
  • tamari to taste
  • sesame or peanut oil to taste (for sauteing)

Start brown rice cooking first.  It takes about 40 minutes to cook and that's about how long preparing the meal took, so it was ready right on time.  Next thaw the tofu in the microwave and press.  Cut into slices as pictured and set aside.  In a saute pan, drizzle a hefty amount of oil and about half of the chili paste, curry paste and hoisin sauce.  Add a touch of tamari.  Throw in a little bit of the garlic, onion and ginger and bring up to medium/hot and add tofu.  Allow tofu to brown on both sides, checking it periodically.   I would cook at about low-to-medium heat.  You can start the veggie part of the stir fry while the tofu is browning on one side, but be sure to keep an eye on it and flip it in time.  Once tofu is finished, remove from heat and put pieces on a plate.  Pour remaining oil/sauce onto cooking veggies.

While the rice and tofu are cooking, have all of your veggies ready to go.  Add the rest of all sauces (and a little tamari) and some oil to a wok or large saute pan and bring up to high heat.  Add veggies in batches, starting with onions, ginger and garlic.  Toss them in oil/sauce mixture on high heat, adding a small amount of water to create some steam- about a minute.  While they're still very crisp, add the broccoli, carrots and snow peas.  Stir them continually for about two minutes or so.   Add a little more water to create a little more steam to cook the broccoli to al dente.  Next add the coriander and cabbage.  Toss in with the rest of the veggies, adding a bit more oil or water or both if necessary.  Add a little tamari.  These last ingredients barely need time on the heat, as they will continue to cook once the wok is removed from the heat source.  Be mindful that the veggies should remain crisp and the stir fry is finished when the broccoli and snow peas are a very bright green.

Place stir-fry in a large bowl (to stop the cooking process) and add the tofu.  Pour any remaining sauce over the mixture and stir.  Serve with the brown rice.  Hooray!