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Tofu and Broccoli with a Chinese Brown Sauce
I know - I know - what you’re thinking: Who needs a stir-fry recipe? Is
there a bigger vegan cliché than the stir-fry? Does the vegan movement
really need more hippie-and-sprouts associations?
I hear your concerns, and I made this sprout-free just so you can save
face. As to the hippie thing, sorry, but you are on your own. (By the
way, I was born too late and too sarcastic to be one myself, but I love
So why do we need a stir-fry recipe?
Because if you eat out at a Chinese restaurant, there could be oyster
sauce in your dish. And if you want something like brown sauce, unless
you are at an exclusively vegetarian place, it likely is made with
animal-based stock. There can also be MSG and way more oil than you
would like to eat. (Oh, and zucchini or whatever veggies you are not
crazy about.) By rocking your own stir-fry, you get to be in the
driver’s seat, my friend: dried hot peppers, low oil, no zucchini
(okay, it’s that time of the summer when I am so sick of them) and so
on and so on. In other words, you can make something exactly to your
For this dish, I recommend the super-firm tofu one can find these days,
the kind that is refrigerated but not packed in water. If you can’t
find this, I recommend pressing the water out of your tofu manually or with a handy contraption.
For many who think they are not tofu fans, super-firm tofu is a
revelation. In fact, if I may pat myself on the back, when I brought
this dish to a potluck, a meat-eater told me that he would gladly
substitute tofu for meat if it always tasted like this.
whichever veggies you like and have a delightful stir-fry tonight! By
the way, I use vegetable stock for most of the oil just because that is
how I am rolling these days, but if you would prefer the use oil (and
want a more authentic taste), go for it!
16 - 20 oz. super-firm tofu, cut into cubes or triangles
1 1/2 T. tamari (for the gluten-free) or soy sauce
1/2 T. rice vinegar
1/2 t. liquid smoke
Mix together the tamari, vinegar and liquid smoke in a small cup. This is your marinade.
In a rectangular pan or a cookie sheet with raised edges, gently mix
the tofu and the marinade. Flip every 10 minutes and let marinate for
30 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, prepare your brown sauce with the following three ingredients.
1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
1 T. tamari or soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch
Warm a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add:
2 t. toasted sesame or plain sesame oil
Warm the oil for 30 seconds and then add...
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. fresh ginger, minced
Stir frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Cook for two -
three minutes, then add the brown sauce. Cook over medium-low heat
until thickened, 8 - 10 minutes, stirring frequently. It should be at a
low boil, with the bubbles taking a while to pop. Do not let this get
too hot or boil.
In a wok or large skiller, heat...
2 t. sesame oil
Over medium heat for 30
seconds or so, swishing or using a brush to coat the pan. Add the tofu
and any extra marinade, and increase the temperature to medium-high;
cook the tofu, tossing gently with a spatula, until lightly browned,
about 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from the pan. You can put this back in the
pan you used for marinading it.
Low-sodium vegetable stock
4 scallions, minced
1 bunch broccoli, sliced into florets
16 oz. snow peas
Turn the skillet up to medium. Add about two tablespoons of vegetable
stock and the scallions. Cook for two minutes; add the broccoli and add
more stock as needed by the tablespoon. Cook until it starts turning
bright green, about 5 - 6 minutes. Add more stock by the tablespoon and
add the snow peas. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, until still crunchy but
Add the tofu and brown sauce; lower the temperature to low and gently stir together until everything is incorporated.
Serve over rice with toasted peanuts or sesame seeds as a garnish, tamari and chile sauce on the side.
2013, 2014, Vegan Street