Category Archives: Chinese

Hot and Spicy Tofu Stir Fry

This is hard to say but I’m turning into my mother.

Whenever we take her out to eat, albeit rarely, she always says, “We should learn how to make this” or “We can make this at home.”  My father would entertain her requests and they would cook meals together to replicate restaurant foods.  (I can’t wait to share my mother’s Southwestern egg rolls with you all one day.)  Without a doubt, my mother takes more joy out of copying a recipe and making it at home than have someone cook, serve and clean up for her.  During her last trip to Whole Foods, she asked the kind staff to let her try what seemed like all of the deli foods only to have the little Indian lady thank them and walk away.  Afterwards, she tells me “We can make that at home.”

I used to be the opposite of that.  As I’ve gotten older and more courageous in the kitchen, I find myself refusing to purchase items because I tell myself that with the right ingredients, I can put it together at home.  I still will not buy any prepared food items from grocery stores just because I think I can do it myself.  Don’t even get me started on the bakery items.

We have a favorite Chinese restaurant that we frequent often.  However, as going there as often as we do is not really an option for the long-term, it was time that I buckled down and found a way to recreate the dish I love at home.  I’m a fan of tofu.  Binks is not, but is coming around – slowly but surely.  I love the texture and its versatility.  Especially for saucy dishes, the ability for tofu to soak up and marinade itself in whatever it simmers in is just one of the many reasons why I choose to use this as a protein source.  After some tweaking, I created a dish that competes well with the one I order almost exclusively at the restaurant.  You really can change the vegetables based on what you have on hand.  I love eating it alone, but the sauce would be perfect draped over hot steamed rice.

Hot and Spicy Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 small red jalapenos, chopped – adjust to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili in oil or red pepper flakes, adjust to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add tofu to the oil and brown on all sides.  Set aside.
  2. In the same pot, heat the remainder of the olive oil and heat.  Add the carrots until softened a bit, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Add the sliced onions and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the onions are wilted.  Add the bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic and ginger and stir until the peppers are softened, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar, soy sauce, corn starch, brown sugar and chili sauce.  Pour over the vegetables and stir to incorporate.  Add the tofu and stir carefully to mix into the sauce, but don’t over mix that you crumble the tofu.  Cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened a bit, which should take another 10 minutes.
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4 Comments

Filed under Asian, Chinese, Main Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

I Roll, You Roll

We all should roll for egg rolls.

You may know have a thing for frying things in the house.  In case you don’t know – I hate it.  But, it seems like that egg rolls serve as the exception.  If you tried these, you too would agree.

Surprisingly the whole process was pretty easy and the results were extraordinary.

Cute eh?

And after a good fry…

Egg Rolls
–   adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken (or ground pork)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 cups cole slaw mix
  • 2 packages of egg roll wrapper packs (usually each has 24 wrappers)

Directions:

  1. Mix ground chicken with garlic and ginger.
  2. Heat ground chicken until cooked through.  Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour and water until it is a paste.  Set aside.
  4. Lay out one egg roll wrapper with a corner facing you.
  5. Place a spoonful of the ground meat mixture into the wrapper.
  6. Fold up and over the corner until the meat mixture is covered.
  7. Fold the left and right corners towards the middle.
  8. Roll the remainder of the roll until you get to the very top.
  9. Using your finger, apply some of the flour mixture to the top to glue together the top to the rest of the egg roll.
  10. Make the egg rolls and set aside on a plate.  Do not overlap egg rolls.  The egg rolls should not touch.
  11. Heat oil over medium high heat until hot.  I usually test a small strip of the egg roll wrapper to see if it is hot enough. The test strip should sizzle and start to fry as it hits the oil and not smoke.  
  12. Once the oil is heated, add the egg rolls.  Do not crowd.
  13. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
  14. Once cooked, remove and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
  15. Serve hot.

14 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Asian, Chinese, Uncategorized