Dinner in 45 Minutes
Kung Pao Tofu With Broccoli and Peanuts
There's a fair amount of "set aside" in this preparation, as with most stir-fries, but once you start cooking, it goes very quickly. The crisp broccoli and water chestnuts pair well with the soft tofu and slightly spicy sauce. Serve with rice. Recipe adapted from "A Spoonful of Ginger," by Nina Simonds (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999).
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch slabs
2 tablespoons minced scallions, white part only, plus 2/3 cup scallion greens, cut into 1-inch lengths
11/2 tablespoons minced garlic
11/2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon hot chili paste
1 cup sliced water chestnuts
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
21/2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 pound broccoli, ends trimmed and stalks peeled
4 tablespoons canola or corn oil
3/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
Wrap the tofu slabs in paper towels or a cotton towel, and place a heavy weight, such as a cast-iron skillet or a pot filled with cold water, on top. Let stand to press out excess water while preparing the seasonings and sauce.
In a small bowl, mix the minced scallions, garlic, ginger and chili paste. In another bowl, place the scallion greens and water chestnuts. Set both aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the broth, soy sauce, rice wine or dry sherry, sugar, toasted sesame oil, black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce and cornstarch. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut off the broccoli florets and separate into bite-size pieces. Cut the stalks on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Boil the broccoli for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander under cold running water and place in medium bowl. Set aside.
Slice the tofu into pieces about 1/2-inch thick and 21/2 inches long. Using a large, heavy skillet on high heat, heat 11/2 tablespoons of the oil. Place half of the tofu in the pan and sear for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove with a spatula and drain. Add another 11/2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and repeat.
Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the scallion-ginger mixture and stir-fry about 15 seconds. Add scallion greens and water chestnuts and cook, stirring, about 11/2 minutes. Add the chicken broth mixture and stir until it thickens, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli, tofu and peanuts. Toss lightly. Serve hot.
Per serving: 391 calories, 20 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 25 g fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 3 g saturated fat, 199 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber
Recipe tested by Marcia Kramer; e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Marcia Kramer
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-- Terri Sapienza
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