Tag Archives: stirfry

Asparagus and Bean Curd with Thai Red Curry.

This is another recipe that is about the method and not necessarily the ingredients. What I mean is that this is a really basic recipe where the ingredients can be changed to your liking while using the same seasoning (or similar seasonings) but using the same simple stir-fry method to prepare them. Anyhow, this is really easy to make and super delicious.

 

Asparagus and Bean Curd with Thai Curry

Makes 4 servings

1 package extra firm tofu, drained

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra to oil a pan

1 onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons red Thai curry

¼ chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce

12 leaves fresh basil, course chopped

Preheat an oven to 400F. Dice the tofu and spread it onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake the tofu for about 30 minutes, turning it every ten minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the tofu from the oven and set aside. Heat the 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then add the sliced onion and bell pepper; stir-fry for a couple minutes, then add the garlic and cook a couple minutes longer. Add the asparagus, cook for a minute or two, then add the red curry, mixing it with the vegetables. Add the cooked tofu to the pan, along with the vegetable broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, tossing all the ingredients together, then stir in the basil and remove from the heat.

Asparagus and Bean Curd with Thai Red Curry.

  
This is another recipe that is about the method and not necessarily the ingredients. What I mean is that this is a really basic recipe where the ingredients can be changed to your liking while using the same seasoning (or similar seasonings) but using the same simple stir-fry method to prepare them. Anyhow, this is really easy to make and super delicious.
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Asparagus and Bean Curd with Thai Curry
Makes 4 servings
1 package extra firm tofu, drained
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra to oil a pan
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons red Thai curry
¼ chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
12 leaves fresh basil, course chopped
Preheat an oven to 400F. Dice the tofu and spread it onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake the tofu for about 30 minutes, turning it every ten minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the tofu from the oven and set aside. Heat the 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then add the sliced onion and bell pepper; stir-fry for a couple minutes, then add the garlic and cook a couple minutes longer. Add the asparagus, cook for a minute or two, then add the red curry, mixing it with the vegetables. Add the cooked tofu to the pan, along with the vegetable broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, tossing all the ingredients together, then stir in the basil and remove from the heat.

Really Simple (and really delicious) Stir-Fry Recipe


This recipe is so easy but it is also equally delicious. Once you have everything prepped it takes a mere 5 minutes to cook. While I used chicken, the recipe is equally good with nearly any other meat, poultry, or seafood; it can also be made vegetarian–sans meat–by substituting the meat with tofu, tempeh, seitan, or using just vegetables (and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth). It’s also a great way to use up leftover meat or poultry.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Makes about 4 servings

3/4 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 thin slices ginger

1 clove garlic, sliced thin

1 pound mixed vegetables

8 ounces cooked chicken


In a small bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar and salt, then set aside. Heat the oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the vegetables and chicken; stir-fry for a few minutes. Stir the broth mixture and add it to the stir-fry. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the sauce is thickened and the vegetables are cooked to your liking.

A Quick and Delicious Recipe (and how cooking can be therapeutic)

I’ve posted this recipe before and it’s one of my favorite stir-fries. Sometimes I make it myself and now-and–again I order it from a local restaurant. But, as often is the case, I’m jumping ahead.

Last evening I was stressed; over a few things but basically that I had too much to do and not enough time to do it. And often when I’m stressed it leads to melancholy. I had cooked and rushed around a kitchen (at work) all day, and had some studying and writing to do besides things around the house. I knew it was impossible to fit it all in that evening. And when I’m stressed I also tend to procrastinate. So that evening I went to the health club for a quick swim and a long steam. And as I sat in the steam room I thought of dinner…I’ll stop on my way home and pick up a portion of Broccoli-and-bean curd from a local restaurant, I thought. And as I pedaled and coasted home–and was really not feeling like doing the chores ahead of me–I remembered that I still had broccoli growing in my backyard (pictured below) and some tofu in my fridge. So instead of doing the chores I had planned I went home and cooked.

I cook all day at work for other people and sometimes it really feels good to simply cook for myself. Cooking, in the right conditions, can in fact be therapeutic (click here). So I poured myself a glass of wine and went in the backyard with my dogs to pick broccoli. It was already dark and a beautiful crisp autumn evening. So before cutting the broccoli I sat on a stool while my dogs wandered, sniffed, snorted, and peed the entire perimeter of the backyard (the garden is fenced off). I sipped my wine while I looked at the stars above. It felt good to be outside with a slight chill in the air. After cutting the broccoli I went in and prepared my meal in a mindful way.

As I sliced the broccoli I remembered pushing the tiny seedlings into the moist, cold ground some months earlier with the promise of summer ahead. I utilized all my senses as the tofu cooked and sputtered in the hot fat. I sipped wine and listened to NPR while I cooked. Things are good, I thought, and I skipped most of the chores I was to do that evening. Instead I watched a movie while I ate. The food tasted good–really good–and I was glad that I prepared it myself (for myself) instead of purchasing it. It was, I thought, just what I needed.

Broccoli & Bean Curd with Ginger, Garlic, & Hot Peppers
(This is a classic vegetarian dish but ti would be equally delicious with thin slices of chicken breast, pork, or shrimp). 
Yield: 4 servings

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 heads broccoli, cut into florets
12 ounces firm tofu, sliced into
1-inch pieces
1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1 small onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. Mix to dissolve the cornstarch and set aside. Par-cook the broccoli in boiling water, then drain it and cool it under cold running water.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Carefully add the tofu and cook it on both sides until golden brown. Remove the tofu and transfer to absorbent paper. Carefully pour most of the oil into a separate pan (or other safe container), leaving just enough oil to stir fry in. Heat the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté the vegetables until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic, ginger, and hot peppers. Sauté for another minute or two.

Stir in the chicken broth; bring it to a boil, then stir in the soy-cornstarch mixture. Bring it to a simmer, then add the broccoli and bean curd. Stir and toss it to evenly coat it with sauce. Continue to heat the pan just until the broccoli is heated throughout.

Urban Simplicity.

Salute the General

I made this for staff lunch at work today…General Tso’s Chicken. It is not that difficult to prepare and really rewarding because when you make it yourself it is not greasy or sickeningly-sweet. The only differences in the version I prepared today (the one picture) is that I added a sliced orange and toasted sesame seeds to the recipe. Other than that the recipe listed below is the one that I used (but multiplied by six times). If you want to prepare a simple yet delicious Chinese recipe at home–one where guests or family members may think you ordered out–this is the recipe. I originally published this recipe in Artvoice a few years ago, and also on this blog around the same time. If you’d like to read the story behind this recipe, and how I came about it, click either here or here.

General Tso’s Chicken
Yield: 3-4 servings

For the chicken:
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 egg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour

For the sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch

Additional Ingredients:
6 small dried red chilies
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 green onions, sliced
peanut oil for deep frying

Combine all of the chicken ingredients together in a bowl, mix to evenly coat, and set aside. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl and set aside. Heat a couple inches of peanut oil in a wok or skillet until 350F. Stir the chicken again, then carefully deep fry it piece-by-piece and remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Cut a piece of the chicken to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked. Carefully transfer the oil to a tin can or other pot to cool, reserving a few tablespoons in the wok or skillet. Over medium-high heat stir-fry the chilies for a minute, then add the ginger and garlic. Stir the sauce ingredients again, then carefully add it to the hot pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cooked chicken and green onion. Toss to coat. Serve with steamed rice.

Urban Simplicity

Simple Stirfy…or, how to make something really quick and delicious with what you have

I’ve said this before, but some evenings cooking dinner in my home is like taking a mystery basket test. By the time I get home my son is hungry (and so am I) so time is something to consider…and there’s often just a scant few things in the fridge. Don’t believe the unrealistic TV shows where it shows chefs with their home kitchens packed with food, this is far from the truth. Anyhow, scant as it may be, I still had a couple substantial items…a package of frozen boneless chicken thighs and a bunch of broccoli. I also came upon a half of an onion, a piece of green pepper, some garlic and ginger…and of course condiments ans seasonings. After thawing and marinating the chicken (in a mixture of soy sauce, white wine, and cornstarch), I quickly pan fried it. And then stir fried the vegetables and made a light sauce…it was all ready by the time a couple cups of brown rice were cooked. Healthy, quick, and delicious.
I basically followed the premise for the recipe below. Just substitute the tofu with chicken, if you like. Or eat the vegetarian version. Both are delicious. Actually, nearly any vegetable and/or meat or seafood can be substituted following the basic method. Anyhow, here it is in pictures; the recipe follows.

Broccoliand Bean Curd with Ginger, Garlic, and Hot Peppers
Yield:4 servings
4tablespoons soy sauce
1tablespoon cider vinegar
1tablespoon sugar
2tablespoons cornstarch
4heads broccoli, cut into florets
12ounces firm tofu, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1small onion, sliced
1red bell pepper, julienned
2cloves garlic, minced
1tablespoon minced ginger
1teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1-1/2cups chicken broth

In asmall bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. Mixto dissolve the cornstarch and set aside. Par-cook the broccoliboiling water, then drain it and cool it under cold running water.

Heat theoil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Carefully add the tofuand cook it on both sides until golden brown. Remove the tofu andtransfer to absorbent paper. Carefully pour most of the oil into aseparate pan (or other safe container), leaving just enough oil tostir fry in. Heat the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Sautéthe vegetables until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic,ginger, and hot peppers. Sauté for another minute or two.

Stir inthe chicken broth; bring it to a boil, than stir in thesoy-cornstarch mixture. Bring it to a simmer, then add the broccoliand bean curd. Stir and toss it to evenly coat it with sauce.Continue to heat the pan just until the broccoli is heatedthroughout. 
 

Urban Simplicity.

Broccoli, Crispy Tofu, and Chicken Stirfry

This is one of my favorite stirfrys…traditionally it is made sans chicken–with just the broccoli and bean curd–but my son likes meat so I added it to the recipe; I like it this way, too. This is easy and nutritious; it’s a recipe–or variations of it–that I make somewhat frequently and have posted it a couple times prior (click here and here for more photos and directions)…and when I’m feeling lazy I order it as take out (click here). It made it tonight for dinner and served it over brown rice. The difference in the recipe below is that I first poached boneless chicken thighs in broth, then used the broth in the recipe and to cook the rice. Anyhow, it’s simple to make and as delicious as it looks.

Broccoli & Bean Curd with Ginger, Garlic, & Hot Peppers
Yield: 4 servings

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 heads broccoli, cut into florets
12 ounces firm tofu, sliced into
1-inch pieces
1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1 small onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. Mix to dissolve the cornstarch and set aside. Par-cook the broccoli in boiling water, then drain it and cool it under cold running water.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Carefully add the tofu and cook it on both sides until golden brown. Remove the tofu and transfer to absorbent paper. Carefully pour most of the oil into a separate pan (or other safe container), leaving just enough oil to stir fry in. Heat the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté the vegetables until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic, ginger, and hot peppers. Sauté for another minute or two.

Stir in the chicken broth; bring it to a boil, then stir in the soy-cornstarch mixture. Bring it to a simmer, then add the broccoli and bean curd. Stir and toss it to evenly coat it with sauce. Continue to heat the pan just until the broccoli is heated throughout.

Broccoli, Bean Curd (and chicken) Stirfry

This is one of my favorite stirfrys, or at least a variation of it. It’s a recipe that you’ll find in most Chinese restaurants but is very simple to make at home. The original recipe is sans chicken (hence the reason it’s in parenthesis in the title), but having a teen-aged son usually requires some sort of meat in the recipe to make it palatable (who am I kidding…I like it too). To include chicken in the recipe simply saute it prior to the other ingredients, remove it from the pan, proceed with the recipe, then add it back to the pan once the sauce is added. Your first inclination is likely to use chicken breast, but I suggest boneless thighs…more flavor and juicier. Anyhow, it’s easy to prepare, full-flavored, and healthy also (all that broccoli!). To see an earlier post with pictures regarding this recipe, click here. To see it at the Artvoice website (where it was originally published), click here.

Broccoli & Bean Curd with Ginger, Garlic, & Hot Peppers
Yield: 4 servings

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 heads broccoli, cut into florets
12 ounces firm tofu, sliced into
1-inch pieces
1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1 small onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. Mix to dissolve the cornstarch and set aside. Par-cook the broccoli in boiling water, then drain it and cool it under cold running water.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Carefully add the tofu and cook it on both sides until golden brown. Remove the tofu and transfer to absorbent paper. Carefully pour most of the oil into a separate pan (or other safe container), leaving just enough oil to stir fry in. Heat the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté the vegetables until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic, ginger, and hot peppers. Sauté for another minute or two.

Stir in the chicken broth; bring it to a boil, then stir in the soy-cornstarch mixture. Bring it to a simmer, then add the broccoli and bean curd. Stir and toss it to evenly coat it with sauce. Continue to heat the pan just until the broccoli is heated throughout.

My Favorite Stir-Fry (Recipe and Photos)

This is a variation of a recipe I published in Artvoice a couple years ago and it’s one of my favorite stir-fry recipes…it’s simple to prepare and is close to flavor of a dish you may order at a Chinese restaurant. But when you make it at home you can control the salt and sugar amounts (not to mention save a little cash), and serve it with brown rice like I did. The classic and main ingredients for this recipe are broccoli and bean curd, but you could easily substitute chicken, pork, or beef…though if you’d like to make it completely vegetarian or vegan keep the bean curd and simply use vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth. Anyhow, here’s a few pictures; the recipe follows. To see the original article in Artvoice (about broccoli) with info and additional recipes, click here.

Broccoli & Bean Curd with Ginger, Garlic, & Hot Peppers
Yield: 4 servings

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 heads broccoli, cut into florets
12 ounces firm tofu, sliced into
1-inch pieces
1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1 small onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. Mix to dissolve the cornstarch and set aside. Par-cook the broccoli in boiling water, then drain it and cool it under cold running water.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Carefully add the tofu and cook it on both sides until golden brown. Remove the tofu and transfer to absorbent paper. Carefully pour most of the oil into a separate pan (or other safe container), leaving just enough oil to stir fry in. Heat the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté the vegetables until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic, ginger, and hot peppers. Sauté for another minute or two.

Stir in the chicken broth; bring it to a boil, then stir in the soy-cornstarch mixture. Bring it to a simmer, then add the broccoli and bean curd. Stir and toss it to evenly coat it with sauce. Continue to heat the pan just until the broccoli is heated throughout.

Basmati Rice wiith Tilapia and Asparagus

It probably comes to no surprise to readers of this blog that I like to keep things simple when I cook…I’ve learned, by trial-and-error mostly, and through years of experience, that too many flavors often (unnecessarily) complicate a dish. This is also true with technique, I think…the simpler the better in my book. Even the father of modern cuisine, Auguste Escoffier, liked to keep things simple. Supposedly one of his common quotes to aspiring cooks was faite simple, or keep (or make) it simple. His book, Le Guide Culinaire, was a major influence on me as a young culinarian, as was Le Repertoire de la Cuisine (written by one of his students) and Larousse Gastronomique (written by a colleague with a forward by Escoffier). Though I have to question whether any of these guys ever made Tilapia with Basmati Rice…probably not the most popular foods 100+ years ago. At any rate, this is how I made this dish…it really is simple and most definitely delicious.

I started by dicing the fish and marinating it in a little soy sauce and cornstarch.

While the fish was marinating I cooked some basmati rice in a little chicken broth that was seasoned with curry powder. The curry gives the rice not only a beautiful yellow hue but also a subtle fullness in flavor to the finished dish. While the rice cooked and the fish marinated I had a glass of wine and read a few pages of the book I’m currently reading (The Shack, by William P. Young…I highly recommend it).

When the rice was cooked I heated a little peanut oil in a skillet and sauteed the fish. The cornstarch gives the fish a nice delicate coating.

I removed the fish to a plate and added the asparagus, along with 1/2 of a minced onion, a diced piece of green pepper that I had in the refrigerator, and a minced clove of garlic. After sauteing it for a few minutes I seasoned it with a tablespoon (or so) of Thai roasted chili paste.

I came across this chili paste a few weeks ago at The Lexington Co-op. I’ve used this brand curry paste before, and they are good but very spicy (I love spicy food, but these curry pastes are a bit much sometimes). This chili paste, on the other hand is not spicy at all, and it contains, among other things, tamarind, fish sauce, and shrimp, which adds an interesting flavor to the finished dish.

Anyhow, I then added the fish back to the skillet along with some of the rice (which was still warm) and stirred it gently (I added a small amount of water to “loosen” it a bit). And yes…it was as good as it looks (click on any picture for a closer view).