Some time ago I did a vegan cookbook proposal for a terrific New Zealand chef, Michael Waffelbaker, which you can view under “Cookbook Ideas.” In it was a recipe that has become one of Steve’s favorite meals. I’m not a lover of tofu so I usually make it when I am in diet mode with a large salad for myself. But, since Steve says it is so delicious, I thought we should share the recipe with all of you.
3 heads bok choy
1⅓ pounds shiitake mushrooms
1 cup homemade vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds extra firm tofu, well-drained and cut into ¾-inch cubes
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 small hot chiles such as bird or Serrano, stemmed, seeded, and minced or to
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Wash and dry the bok choy. Using a sharp knife, cut the root end from each head. If the leaves are larger than 2-inches wide cut them in half. Set aside.
Trim the stems from the shiitakes and wipe the mushrooms clean. (Save the stems for stocks.) Depending upon their size, cut each one into quarters or halves so that each piece is relatively equal in size. Set aside.
Combine ½ cup of the stock with the cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve. Set aside.
Combine the remaining ½ cup of the stock with the soy sauce and brown sugar in a medium large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the ginger and bring to a boil. Immediately whisk in the reserved cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry, turning about every 30 seconds, for about 4 minutes or until golden on all sides. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the tofu to a double layer of paper towel to drain.
With the sauté pan still on medium-high heat, add the sesame oil. When hot, add the reserved mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy, chiles, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved tofu along with the soy-ginger sauce and cook for about 1 minute or just until blended and hot.
Remove from the heat and spoon equal portions into each of six large, shallow soup bowls. Serve immediately.