Thursday, October 20, 2016

Weeknight Wonders: Szechuan Green Beans and Tofu Stir Fry

We have embraced our empty nest status and continue to focus on creating a less hurried lifestyle (still a struggle) and rising to the challenges of cooking for two.

Until recently, I was not sure what I felt about tofu.  Tofu is essentially mashed soybean curd.  Does that sound appetizing to me?  No, it does not.  A great substitute for meat?  I think not!  There is no comparison to the texture or flavor of meat.   So what is it about tofu that finally made me think seriously about it as a real food ingredient?  Well, you have to look at tofu, as just that, tofu. 

Tofu is a healthy ingredient loaded with calcium, iron and other micro-nutrients.   A good addition to healthy eating and it is a good source of protein.  More importantly, tofu can be marinated to add any flavor, and that is a plus.

This quickly prepared weeknight meal was pretty good and it improved tofu's standing with me.  The extra spice provided by the Szechuan sauce made this recipe worthy of being a keeper.



Szechuan and Green Bean and Tofu Stir Fry
Serves 4
Recipe from Eating Well


Ingredients:
1 teaspoon, plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 cups green beans, trimmed and cut in half
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup water, divided
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

Directions:
Whisk 1/4 cup of water, soy sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, crushed red pepper and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Cut tofu into 1/2-3/4-inch cubes and pat dry.  Toss the tofu in a bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons corn starch to coat.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu and spread across the surface of the pan.  Let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.  Gently turn and stir.  Continue cooking and occasionally stirring, until light brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes more.  Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan.  Add green beans, garlic, and ginger; cook stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup water, cover, and cook until the beans are crisp tender, 2 to 4 minutes.  Stir the reserved soy sauce mixture and pour it over the green beans.  Cook, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute.  Add the tofu and cook, stirring until heated through about 1 minute more.

Enjoy!