Note to Self:

Monday, January 16, 2012

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.


Broccoli and Bean Curd with Ginger, Garlic, and 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 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, than 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.

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