This is a simple vegetarian recipe, but simple doesn't mean that it lacks flavor. I pan-fried thick slices of tofu until the outer layer was very crispy, then quickly sautéed it with fermented black beans and snow peas. The greens were still crisp and provided a great color to the dish.
If you're starting to think about the upcoming Asian New Year celebration (called Tết in Vietnamese), you might be looking for vegan recipes. Well, search no more! Tradition requires us to eat vegetarian food (ăn chay) on the last day of the previous year and first day of New Year and I will be sharing a few more Vietnamese vegetarian dishes with you until the celebration begins.
Servings: 8 servings
1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 cloves garlic, cut in thirds 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons fermented black beans 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, to taste 1 pound fresh snow peas ½ teaspoon salt, to taste ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Prepping the tofu: Cut the tofu into 2-inch slices. In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Pan-fry the pieces of tofu on both sides until golden. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust with a moist interior. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Once the tofu pieces are cool enough to handle, cut the slices in half lengthwise so the soft side absorbs more black bean flavor once stir-fried. Set aside.
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 snow peas first. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until shiny, then add a tablespoon of soy sauce. Add the tofu and black beans and stir-fry until the tofu darkens. Add honey, the chili garlic sauce and ¼ cup water. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes until well combined.
Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro. Toss well.
Serve immediately with steamed rice.
You could using other vegetables that require little cooking time so they remain crisp and have a bright color.
I used store-bought fermented, salted black beans. You can find them in any Asian markets.