I love Tofu. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I love it so much that whenever I’m cooking with it I have serious difficulty not eating it straight out of the pan and serving everyone else only vegetables. So when I have a block of tofu and a brand new veg box, my brain only really allows me to think one thing: stir fry. The brilliant thing about stir fries is that there are no rules and no limits. Throw whatever you want in a pan or wok, fry for a bit, stir a few times, done. I’m sure that cookbooks and guru chefs would like to see me jailed for those instructions, but that’s how I do it and the method has yet to fail me.This week, for instance, I wanted to get rid of the beans and at least some of the chard as quickly as possible, as they tend to go off a lot faster than all the other vegetables we got. While I had some tofu in the house, I was a bit thrown initially because we were out of soya sauce. I don’t know how this keeps happening. I swear someone breaks in every night and drinks it straight out of the bottle.
Anyway, I digress. Because this was very much freestyle cooking, it’s a bit difficult for me to give you an exact recipe. I’d also much rather inspire you to make your own version, freestyle of course, rather than stick to a recipe that, to be perfectly truthful, is something a brain-dead rat could have come up with. For those reasons, I’ll provide more of a cooking narrative than a recipe. Cool? Cool.
First of all, I pressed my tofu. How exciting. I won’t explain how I did that because you probably know, and on the off chance that you don’t, you can find lots of methods on google.
When it was nice and flat, I massaged it with a marinade that I made out of lemon juice, hoisin sauce and a splash of sesame oil, cut it into pieces and fried it in about 2 tablespoons of oil for 10 minutes, turning the tofu often.
I removed the tofu from the pan for the time being. After heating up a bit more oil, I fried an onion, a large carrot and my purple beans until tender. Then I added a few handfuls of chopped chard, stir frying it just until it was wilted. I deglazed the pan with a bit of red wine, then added another tablespoon of hoisin sauce, a tablespoon of peanut butter and the tofu, making sure everything was piping hot before serving over brown rice, which you cannot see in the picture because there was too much stir fry.
As you can see, purple beans magically turn green while cooking. This is due to the purple pigment (I have conveniently forgotten the name) breaking down at high temperatures, leaving only the green chlorophyll to give colour to the pod. See, magic beans really do exist!
My big surprise with this dish was that red wine, peanut butter and hoisin sauce work quite well together. I was a bit nervous during cooking because I thought the combination might render the whole thing inedible, but it actually works out nicely. I urge you to try it.
Do you ever freestyle cook? Has it led you to discover some surprising winning combinations?