Thursday, June 19, 2014

Week 3: braised bok choy, fried tofu

This week I ordered "green garlic" from the CSA because I'd never tried it before; it looks like scallions on steroids, but with a slightly stronger garlic taste. You can easily replace with scallions in this recipe. I included an exorbitant amount of fresh-ground black pepper in the braised bok choy because I really like the spicy/floraly taste that it adds. If you don't care for black pepper, replace with some chili paste or red pepper flakes, or if you really don't like spicy food just leave it out entirely!

The fried tofu is a really quick way to make a tofu with a nice crisp crust, but without any kind of batter. The salting technique is one I learned from the Internet, and it really works to dry out the tofu and season it so that it crisps up when you pan fry it. Enjoy!

Green garlic braised bok choy:

1 large bunch bok choy (about 3 cups chopped)
1 stalk green garlic (about 1/4 cup chopped, could use scallions instead)
1 inch piece of ginger
1/4 tsp fresh grated black pepper
2 tbsp low sodium tamari (could use soy sauce instead)
1 tsp honey
Splash of vegetable or olive oil

Chop bok choy into bite sized pieces, leafy parts and stalks together. Rinse very well in a colander under running water, sometimes sand gets trapped in the stalk part of the bok choy. Leave to drain in the sink. Rinse green garlic and chop finely into thin slices, white parts and leafy green parts only (avoid the lighter green stem parts, they're a little tough) and set aside.

Peel the ginger and grate into a small bowl (you can dice but I find this difficult sometimes depending on how dry the ginger is). Add tamari, black pepper and honey and stir to mix. 

In a large frying pan or skillet with a lid, add splash of oil and cook green garlic on low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Raise heat slightly to medium low, add bok choy and cook for 1 minute. Add tamari mixture, stir and adjust heat until simmering (just a few gentle and small bubbles), cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the stalks are soft.  Remove lid and cook stirring frequently for another few minutes until the pan dries out. Serve hot, over rice if you can cook rice without burning it or making a mushy mess, which I cannot.

Fried tofu:

1 block extra firm tofu
2 tbsp vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil)

If your tofu is packed in water, open and rinse tofu block. Slice into 8 thin rectangles (see my picture up top). Take a palmful of salt and rub on both sides of each tofu slice, the way you would salt eggplant for an Italian dish. Leave tofu to sweat for 15 minutes. Pat with paper towel to dry each slice. Add oil to a frying pan and heat on medium heat until shimmery. I use a nonstick pan, but you can do this with a regular pan if you're patient. Fry tofu 4 slices at a time, about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. If you're doing this in a regular pan, you can't get antsy and try to flip the slices too early or they'll stick! They will release from the pan when more or less done, especially if you gently shake the pan occasionally and really get under there with a spatula. Remove slices and drain on paper towel. Once cool enough to touch, slice into triangles and serve with some tamari or soy sauce or Sriracha or chili paste or other dipping sauce on the side.

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