According to the April/May 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times, "High temperatures and constant stirring are the secrets to great spring stir-fries." I know I'm a few months late testing out this claim, but it's definitely true, and it applies to stir-fries in all seasons, of course. The other night, I made that issue's baby bok choy and tofu stir fry, glazing the seared ingredients with a sweet and tangy marmalade sauce. The only change I made was to use bottled ginger juice instead of the julienned fresh ginger the recipe suggested, and I did so only for convenience.
You will need:
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1-2 tsp ginger juice
- 2 Tbsp warm water
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
- 2 8-oz packages plain or Asian-flavored baked tofu, drained of package marinade and cubed
- 4-6 dried hot red chiles or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lb baby bok choy, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces and well-rinsed (I chop and then rinse because I think it's easier to get the grit out that way)
- 1/3 cup roasted unsalted cashews
- Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat wok or large rimmed skillet over high heat. When it's hot, add the oil and garlic, stirring constantly for a minute or two. (Don't let the garlic burn, or you'll have to start over.)
- Add tofu cubes and chiles; stir-fry 3 minutes, or until the tofu starts to brown.
- Add the bok choy and stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until the leaves are beginning to wilt.
- Stir in the sauce and continue to look another 2 minutes, or until the sauce is warmed through and the stir-fry is enveloped in a shiny glaze. Stir in cashews and serve immediately, preferably over rice.
As with many Asian-style recipes, the prep work takes more time than the cooking itself, but even there, the prep is easy. Baked tofu saves you the time of pressing, draining, and marinating regular tofu. For this recipe, I tried Wildwood Teriyaki, which was lovely. It was flavorful without being assertively so, and it wasn't salty or tough. I liked the way the tofu held its shape, despite my enthusiastic stirring and the heat.
When I make this again, I'll probably double the sauce, since I'm a sauce-loving type of girl. As is, the recipe made just enough to coat the tofu and bok choy, but I'd prefer a little extra that can seep down into the rice in my bowl! I'd also try a different heat factor, as the Aji Limo Rojo chiles (yes, I know they're Peruvian and don't really belong in this dish) weren't noticeable in the final product at all. I don't know if they're old or if I need to slice them open or what, but they really didn't add anything to the dish. I might just use red pepper flakes next time. If you're a Sriracha fan (not me!), this would be a great recipe to use it in!