From Mud – With an impressive track record in killing plants, I seem an unlikely candidate to have a bountiful allotment. It never ceases to amaze me how much food that finds its way into Max’s eager mouth has been grown in my very own humble veggie patch with my not particularly green fingers.
To Mouth – Recipes will therefore feature a core ingredient grown by my own fair hands as the star of a delicious show. That ingredient will be transported from its muddy home to an obliging mouth in less than an hour and it doesn’t get much better than that.
This week’s recipe features Bok Choy. About 5 weeks ago I purchased a tray of Bok Choy seedlings, I’ve never grown them before but I’ve heard they are particularly quick and easy to grow and anything that green has to be good for you too. Yesterday I went to have a look at how the plot was looking and I had a row of full sized Bok Choy ripe for the picking.
Given the amount of stir fries we get through in our house a surplus of Asian Greens is no bad thing. A few weeks back I went to a cheap and cheerful Chinese restaurant and ordered a tofu stir fry with ginger and oyster sauce, it was sweet, sticky, salty and scrumptious. I went home and played around with some Chinese flavours and I think I’ve got to a point where it’s a passable impersonation. I doubt whether it’s particularly authentic but it’s quick, tasty and easy.
As well as the Bok Choy I use whatever veg we have handy, I tend to favour green slightly bitter veg (capsicum, broccoli, beans) because I think the sauce has enough sweetness. Carrots and onions also get the nod, while ginger, mild chilli and garlic all provide flavour. A good stir fry requires a smoking hot wok (or large frying pan), a non-flavoured oil (sunflower, peanut, vegetable) and a bit of thought about what is going to cook first. Keep the vegetables crisp and don’t overcook them, keep moving them around in the pan and don’t add too much liquid up front or they will steam/boil.
I know tofu isn’t universally popular but I’ve found that firm or fried tofu is delicious as long as you add flavour to it. I can’t do the silken stuff, it’s a textural thing and makes feels like I have a mouth of snot. It’s cheap, healthy and it lasts forever in your fridge and as if that isn’t enough I’ve managed to convince Max that it’s pretty darned good too. If you really can’t bring yourself to have it in your life just leave it out, or add prawns, chicken or beef.
Ingredients (serves two very hungry people)
1 Bok Choy
1 Broccoli Head
1 Green Capsicum
1 Brown Onion
1 Thumb Sized Piece of Ginger (cut into thin slithers)
1 Garlic Clove (finely chopped)
½ Mild Red Chilli (depending on how you like your heat)
1 Packet of Firm or Fried Tofu
1 cup of Jasmine Rice
Splash of non-flavoured oil (sunflower, peanut, vegetable)
Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sweet Chilli Sauce (1 tablespoon of each)
Put one cup of Jasmine rice in a saucepan with 2 cups of salted boiling water and leave to simmer.
Chop your veg, try and cut the veg into sizes that will encourage them to cook at the same times. Cut the leaves from the stalk of the bok choy. Cut the ginger into thin slither and cube the tofu.
When all the liquid has been soaked up by the rice it should be ready, place a plate over the top and the rice will stay warm and steam to fluffy perfection.
Once your veg is prepped, place a wok (or large frying pan on a high heat), when it starts to smoke add your oil.
Add all of the veg and tofu apart from the Bok Choy leaves and start stirring. Keep moving the veg around and when you feel they are ¾’s cooked add the leaves (don’t overcook the veg, you want it to have some bite)
Add the garlic chilli and ginger and the three sauces. Keep cooking until the sauce thickens into a sticky caramel.
Serve up with the rice and icy cold beer.