Chestnut Tofu Stir-Fry Recipe
It's Meatless Monday and we're going to be celebrating the Asian Lunar New Year in about 2 weeks. It's the perfect occasion to show you our family's favorite: tofu stir fry. For this version, I sauteed shiitake mushrooms, broccoli and roasted chestnuts. The chestnuts have a mealy texture that's very satisfying and filling, which is great when you're on a vegetarian diet. I'll be taking the proverbial plunge from the day before the New Year through the day after (there is a tradition of abstaining from meat during this period for the New Year).
I just came home from West Hollywood after promoting my second cookbook Banh Mi during the Golden Globes presentation. I also shared my pandan cookies, and guess what? I'm not big on bragging but everyone adored my signature cookies and the Banh Mi cookbook! I've shared and will share a few photos of the event on my social media channels.
Yields: 8 servings1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 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
1 dozen shiitake mushrooms
2 heads broccoli
1 dozen roasted chestnuts, shelled and quartered
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, slightly toasted
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
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 mushrooms: Slice them lengthwise. Set aside.
Prepping the broccoli: Separate the broccoli florets. Blanch for 3-4 minutes in boiling water then transfer into an ice bath. Drain thoroughly, then pat dry on a paper towel. Do not overcook, as the broccoli will continue to cook with the tofu later.
In the same wok, heat 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 mushrooms. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add a tablespoon of soy sauce. Add the chestnuts. Toss well, then transfer to a platter.
Return the tofu and garlic to the wok. Add sugar. Once the tofu is well coated and caramelized, add both black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce and the remaining soy sauce. Stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Add the broccoli and mushrooms. Stir constantly.
Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro. Drizzle with sesame oil.
Serve immediately with steamed rice. I served this tofu dish with brown jasmine rice for a healthier meal.
Eat with chopsticks . (If you are observing the tradition of eating vegetarian foods (ăn chay) on the last day of the previous year and first day of the Asian New Year, you could make this vegetarian dish).
I absolutely love Thanh Son brand tofu. If you live in the Bay Area, you have to try it. They sell it in almost all the Asian markets in downtown San Jose, and their main shop is on 2857 Senter Road, San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is very good. Their factory makes the best tofu texture; it's made fresh daily on site. Make sure to ask for the firm type.
I used broccoli, but you can use any other \vegetables such as cauliflower, eggplant, bok choy, sugar snap peas or green beans.
You could also finish the dish with a little mound of butter instead of sesame oil 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 for 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.