Mir's Special: Green Beans and Tofu Stir Fry
This recipe is really about 4 main ingredients: green beans, tofu, basil and garlic. The dish is infused with the flavor of black bean and chili garlic sauce and soy sauce. Tofu is like a sponge so it really absorbs the flavor and color of the fermented black bean and chili. It's a simple hearty dish recipe that satisfy every palate in my home. Even the meat lovers like it!
The dish is named after my father-in-law, Mir. I call him Daddy. He went to a Chinese Restaurant for a dinner meeting once and they serve this as an appetizer, kinda like a chips and salsa in a Mexican restaurant. It was much saltier and spicier than the recipe I've provided below. Anyways, he liked it so much he asked the waiter to bring him a whole plateful so he could have it for dinner. And thus Mir's Special was born.
Yields: 81 piece tofu
5 cloves garlic
1 Tbs black bean garlic sauce
4 Tbs peanut oil
2 Tbs chili garlic sauce
6 oz green beans
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sugar
1 small onion, cut in small wedges
1/4 cup Thai basil, roughly chopped
1 Tbs butter
Quarter 2 cloves of garlic and finely mince the rest.
Wash and remove the ends of the beans. Cut the beans into 1/2 inch long pieces.
Cut the piece of tofu into 1/2 inch slices. Pour the oil in a big pan and add the quartered cloves of garlic and cook until golden. Remove the garlic from the pan and set aside in a plate. The reason for cooking the garlic first is to provide a nice aroma to the oil. Pan fry the slices until slightly golden. Don't overcook the pieces or they'll start to get hard. The tofu should still be moist to be able to absorb the soy sauce later. Transfer all the tofu to a paper towel and let it cool down.
Cut the pieces of tofu into cubes. Set aside on a plate.
In the same pan, add the minced cloves of garlic and cook until golden. Bring the heat to the highest setting, add the chopped green beans and stir for about 3-4 minutes until the color changes and becomes transluscent. Add salt. Transfer all the beans to a plate. Set aside.
Bring the tofu back into the pan, add the black bean garlic sauce, the chili garlic sauce, the sugar and the soy sauce. Stir constantly until all the soy sauce is absorb by the tofu. Add the cooked green beans, the quartered garlic and the wedges of onion. Cook for another 2 minutes then turn off the heat. Add the butter and chopped basil. Keep on the stove for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.
I absolutely love the Thanh Son tofu brand. If you live in the Bay Area, you have to try it. They sell 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. This is the perfect place for vegetarians. I always get 2 to 3 pieces of fresh tofu every week. I also recommend to try their fried mushroom tofu cubes as well. They also serve other foods, it's very authentic.
The salt is crucial for the dish. As soon as the beans turns transluscent, add some salt. It will guarantee a nice green color and will keep the final product appetizing. The other important thing is to always set the heat of the stove on the highest setting otherwise the dish will be mushy and liquidy.
The pre-package tofu that sells in a regular supermarket does not compare a bit.
The only soy sauce that I like for sauteeing tofu is the Da Bo De brand. It has a very nice flavor and is not too salty. Make sure the bottle says nước tương chay, which means vegetarian in Vietnamese.
Ponzu soy sauce is perfect as a dipping sauce, it's lemony and less salty than the regular soy sauce.
You can use a store bought chili garlic sauce like the one from Lee Kum Kee. It's just that my husband grew so many habanero and Thai chiles last summer. We got a whole box full. So I decided to make batches of chili garlic sauce. Later in the day, I'll post the recipe of the tướng ớt, literally spicy dipping sauce in Vietnamese, it's ultra easy.
I use Thai basil which has a more potent, earthy fragrance.
The dollup of butter at the end is optional but brings a nutty flavor to the dish, you can either omit it or substitute with a drizzle of sesame oil.Published By: on January 25, 2009.