Tofu Asparagus Stir Fry Recipe
This tofu dish usually accommodates everyone in my family; the tofu is fried, then sautéed along with vegetables (I cooked with asparagus and green beans today) in a mixture of black bean and chili garlic sauce.
The story behind this dish is funny. The dish is named after my father-in-law, Mir. Several years ago, he went to a Chinese restaurant for a dinner meeting and they serve this as an appetizer, similar to chips and salsa in a Mexican restaurant. It was much saltier and spicier than the recipe I make now. He liked it so much he asked the waiter to bring him a whole plateful so he could have it for dinner as a main course. And thus Mir's Special was born.
Yields: 8 servings1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu
3 tablespoons canola oil
5 cloves garlic, cut in thirds
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons black bean garlic sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, to taste
12 to 14 asparagus spears
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into ½" pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 tablespoons Thai basil, torn
½ teaspoon salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Prepping the tofu: Cut the tofu into ½-inch slices. In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Pan-fry the pieces of tofu on both sides until golden and puffy. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Once the tofu pieces are cool enough to handle, dice them. Set aside.
Prepping the asparagus: Trim about 2 inches from the root. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the end so it's not fibrous. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Separate the spears (the younger part) from the tips.
In the same wok, add the rest of the oil. Once it's hot, add the garlic. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, add the tofu and stir fry until fragrant. Transfer the tofu to a platter, leaving as much oil as possible in the wok.
Add the asparagus stems and green beans first. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add a tablespoon of soy sauce. Add the remaining asparagus tips. Toss well and cook until the green color becomes shiny and translucent. Transfer to a platter.
Return the tofu and garlic to the wok. Add sugar, black bean sauce, chili garlic sauce and the remaining soy sauce. Stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Return the asparagus and beans to the wok with a little mound of butter. Stir constantly.
Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Thai basil. Toss well.
Serve immediately with steamed rice.
I just discovered a new tofu brand, freshly made daily, in San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is very good. Their factory makes all kinds of tofu textures (silken tofu, fried tofu, sweetened and unsweetened soy milk and tofu dessert). Make sure to ask for the firm type. I found two locations in the Bay Area. Vinh Khang Tofu, 141 Dixon Road, Milpitas, CA 95035 and 2955 Senter Road #80, San Jose, Ca 95111. I also recommend the cold tofu pudding dessert, called dàu hũ nước đường lạnh (just drizzle coconut milk and sweet ginger syrup. it's delicious!)
To prevent Thai basil from darkening too fast, tear the leaves at the very last minute, toss them into the tofu dish and serve immediately.
I used asparagus, but you can use any other green vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, choy sum, sugar snap peas or green beans.
For a vegan version, you could also finish the dish with sesame oil instead of a little mound of butter at the end, if you like.
I used store-bought black bean and chili garlic sauce like the one from Lee Kum Kee. If you're looking to make chili garlic sauce, you can check for the recipe of tướng ớt, literally spicy dipping sauce in Vietnamese; it's ultra easy.
If you like meat, you could add sautéed ground chicken or strips of beef.
Published By: on July 20, 2011.