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Tofu Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce

Also called bean curd, tofu is sold in blocks with textures ranging from silken to extra-firm. Firm tofu holds its shape when stir-fried, as in this recipe. Soft, silken tofu is best gently cooked in recipes such as soups. Before using tofu, drain it, rinse briefly and drain again.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbs. black bean sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 small head bok choy, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small green or yellow zucchini, cut into slices 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 lb. sugar snap peas, trimmed

Directions:

Prepare the tofu and sauce
Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the towels. Top with another layer of towels and pat the tofu dry.

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and broth until the cornstarch dissolves. Stir in the bean sauce and sugar. Set the sauce aside.

Stir-fry the vegetables
Heat a wok or large fry pan over high heat and pour in the oil. Carefully add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes. Turn the tofu over and continue to cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tofu to paper towels to drain.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the oil and set the wok over high heat. Add the pepper flakes, bok choy, zucchini, bell pepper and snap peas and stir-fry until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Return the tofu to the wok. Stir in the sauce and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Transfer to warmed shallow bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Vegetarian, by Dana Jacobi (Oxmoor House, 2007).