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Spicy Maple-Ginger Tofu with Veggies
This sweet-and-sour tofu dish has become one of my favourite vegan Chinese recipes. The sweet comes from (real) maple syrup, which can be obtained almost anywhere these days in large bottles. Rice vinegar provides the sour flavour, and if you like a little spice, a couple of Thai red hot peppers fit the bill nicely. But I have to say the star of the show here is the fresh ginger. It's the aroma that you notice first and the dominant flavour absorbed by the tofu. Serve it as part of a larger Chinese-style feast, or by itself on some steaming jasmine rice.
2 Tbl canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped into roughly 1" pieces (about 2 cups)
225 g (1/2 lb) mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
350 g extra firm tofu, drained, sliced about 1/4" thick, and pressed dry with paper towel
1 medium red pepper, sliced and then cut into 1" pieces
2 Tbl ginger, grated
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup tamari sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 pickled thai red peppers, slit (optional)
1 Tbl corn starch
1/2 cup water
This dish comes together a little quickly. It's a good idea to get everything prepped before heating up the stove.
I use about 2 Tbl of freshly grated ginger, which is easy to do with an inexpensive hand grater.
Put a bowl underneath so you can capture all the juice as well.
Combine the ginger with the maple syrup, rice vinegar, tamari sauce and sesame oil in the bowl.
If you don't mind a little heat, get a couple of pickled Thai hot peppers ready by slitting them down the middle.
When you're done prepping, heat a large, deep frying pan over medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, carefully add the onion and stirfry for about 3 minutes.
Then add the mushrooms and continue to stirfry for about 5 minutes.
Next, garlic for about 2 minutes.
Rip the tofu into bite-sized pieces and add it to the pan.
Add the red pepper pieces.
Add the hot pepper slices if using.
Give the sauce a good mix in its bowl and add it to the pan.
Mix everything well and reduce heat to medium. Let the mixture cook and absorb flavours for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.
Return the heat to medium-high and mix the 1/2 cup water with the 1 Tbl corn starch in a measuring cup. Add the corn starch mixture to the pan and mix continuously until the sauce thickens.
Remove from heat, remove hot peppers if desired, and serve immediately.
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Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2016