Sunday, May 8, 2011
Stir-Fried Green Beans with Tofu Cutlets
My sojourn through the cookbook collection that inspired last week's stir-fry led to another adventure in wok cooking.
I picked up some reasonably priced green beans at the international grocery store, and that triggered a memory of a recipe from my copy of of Chinese Cooking, from the Time-Life Foods of the World collection.
It seemed easy enough, so to make the evening more complicated, I also cooked up some tofu cutlets inspired by everydaydish.tv.
So I sliced a block of frozen/thawed extra-firm tofu and marinated it in some soy sauce, water, nutritional yeast, and sage. Usually when you freeze tofu and then thaw it out, it gets spongy and firms up a little.
If you are a lazy cook, like me, you might try to get away with just freezing a whole block of it in the package without carefully draining out all the water to avoid big ice crystals from wreaking havoc on the interior.
This time, it turned out a little mushy. The flavor was good, and of course the crunchy-fried breading turned out good, but next time I make cutlets I'm just gonna use tofu straight out of the box.
I sliced up a pound of green beans into two-inch hunks, opened a can of sliced water chestnuts, soaked and sliced my last three dried brown Chinese mushrooms, and mixed up a little corn starch slurry - just a teaspoon.
While the vegetables were getting excited, I dredged the tofu slices in a mixture of one part nutritional yeast to three parts white whole wheat flour with a heavy pinch of salt, and then sizzled them in a pan with some sunflower oil until they were golden brown and delicious.
Because stir-frying is high-impact stuff, no images exist of the process, only the delicious conclusion: green beans and mushrooms fried for two minutes, then seasoned with a little sugar, fried for two more minutes, then deglazed with a splash of stock and stirred with the water chestnuts, then combined with the corn starch slurry and stirred until glossy and magnificent.
It turned out to be a pretty good way of cooking green beans - as a result of my unusual childhood, I can really only enjoy green beans when they are just crisp-tender, and stir-frying is a super-easy way to achieve this prized texture.
Next time I would try it with different mushrooms, maybe canned straw mushrooms, or even some fresh oyster mushrooms (although I might just eat those by themselves, in the dark, off of a gold plate, in some kind of special oyster-mushroom-eating room).
I plated a couple slices of tofu with some beans and drizzled with sriracha.