Red Choi Stir Fry with Tofu and Almonds
It makes me super happy when I’ve made something that’s loaded with veggies, and Tim, unprompted, tells me how much he likes it. What a guy! Good thing he liked it so much (even the tofu!), because I am sold.
First of all, tofu is a cheap way to get some protein into a dish. I know, I know, not everyone is crazy about soy. So, if you’re not a tofu fanatic, that’s awesome too! Be who you are, right?! If you’d like, add some chicken instead, Tempeh is great too (but also a soybean product), beef and pork would also be super yum. Or, go totally vegetarian and add some more nuts (even a scoop of peanut or almond butter mixed into the sauce would be great).
See how easy that was?! Substitution central over here. This is one where there’s something for everyone.
Oh yeah, and if you’re vegan, omit the fish sauce. (No duh, Rachel. You knew that… We taught our 2 year old niece to say, “No duh, Uncle Tim” over the holidays. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Especially when she started saying it to Oma too.) I’d planned to make this a vegan dish. I was going to add some honey, then remembered that some vegans don’t eat honey. I finished cooking and realized that fish sauce is obviously not vegan. Eye roll and shrug of the shoulders. I can’t expect my brain to work perfectly all the time. 😉
This is my go-to stir fry sauce. It’s simple. Soy sauce (or a gluten-free version, which tastes remarkably similar), fish sauce, and rice vinegar. Sometimes I use cornstarch and water, to act as a thickener. Either way, we think it tastes great.
Stir Fry is one of those awesome meals for using up whatever veggies are hanging out in the fridge. It’s also a way to pack in many many veggies, but can also be great if you’ve just got broccoli and an onion left at the end of the week. My goal, this time, was to find a way to use the red choi. The rest of the veggies are kinda just a bonus. Plus, it’s a great dish for cabbage using up. And, tastes great with an Asian slaw on the side. Yep, do it, get your cabbage on!
Anoooooother reason I love Stir Fry, it’s so incredibly quick to prepare. Veggies cook over higher heat, so they cook fast and retain their bright color. A friend gave me a wok, so now I don’t throw veggies all over the stove.
Don’t forget, keep those veggies moving. High heat means they’re gonna burn if you leave them unattended.
Once the veggies are cooked (see how greeeeeeeen they are still!?), sauce goes in, cooks for like 2 minutes more, and then you’re done!
You could stand there and eat it out of the wok. Totally fine with me.
But, maybe a better option is to scoop some rice onto a plate, slide some tofu next to it, and pile on those veggies.
If you’ve already eaten 5 pieces of the crispy tofu, I understand. I may have done the same.
- 1 C brown rice (rice noodles, quinoa, or bulgur wheat would also be great)
- 2 C water
- 1 block firm tofu, sliced about 1/8" to 1/4" thick
- to taste salt
- pinch cayenne
- pinch ginger
- 2 t olive oil, divided
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1 T rice vinegar
- 1/4 C cold water
- 1 T cornstarch
- pinch ginger
- 2 T olive oil
- 1/4 C carrots or celery, thinly sliced
- 1-2 C broccoli or cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2-4 T radish, thinly sliced
- 1 C cabbage (or collard greens or kale), chopped
- 1 head red choi stems, chopped
- (could also add: snap peas, bean sprouts, green beans, summer squash, butternut squash)
- pinch salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 head red choi leaves, chopped
- 2 T almonds, chopped, for serving
- Cook rice.
- While rice cooks, sprinkle both sides of the tofu with salt, cayenne, and ginger. Heat skillet over medium to medium-high heat, add 1 t olive oil, when it's hot add tofu, working in batches so the pan isn't overcrowded, cook for about 2-3 minutes per side (or until sides are browned and crispy), adding more oil as needed. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
- Whisk together soy sauce through ginger. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 T olive oil. When oil is hot, add carrots through salt. Cook, stirring constantly (picking veggies up with tongs and moving them around works best for me), for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red choi leaves and cook for about 2 minutes more.
- Stir in sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes (or until sauce has thickened).
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve over rice, topped with chopped almonds.
If it's not essential for this to be vegetarian, 1 t fish sauce is a good addition to the sauce.
P.S. Those leftovers, plomp it all together in a pan and heat it up. The rice will love the sauce, and get a little bit crispy and extra yummy.