From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...As you know, Harumi Kurihara was featured this week by a group of us who are working our way through the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game Changers in Food. Yesterday, I posted her recipe for Sauteed Scallops in Miso Sauce and today I want to share another of her creations with you. This one has a bit of history hidden in the ingredient list. Many of you know that I worked for a Japanese multinational company before my retirement. The company regularly brought young men from Japan to intern at facilities in the United States. On occasions so rare they could be counted on the fingers of one hand, a young woman would be included in their number. More than a few of the women spent some time in my group while they adjusted to their new environment. They were bright as new copper pennies, personable and very anxious to please, but the girls especially were given to bouts of weekend homesickness that cooking seemed to help. Their apartments were not really set up to cook Japanese food but they improvised and found ways to prepare their favorite dishes using a microwave and the single burner their closet kitchens afforded them. I first had this dish in one of those tiny kitchens where the microwave "stir-fried" the bok choy and sprouts. I am convinced that Japanese women are born knowing how to cook, even in less than ideal circumstances. There is an economy in their movements that matches their spare use of ingredients and they have the ability to transform quite ordinary ingredients into something truly special. In this recipe, the toasted and pulverized sesame seeds and that odd sounding bullion cube are the umami that make this dish work. I was delighted when I found a formal recipe for easy stir-fry. I love its spare and elegant simplicity, but I also love the way it tastes. It is mildly flavored and were it not for the pulverized sesame seeds, it would be bland. There is no fire here. This is a dish to be prepared when the palate needs soothing. I do hope you'll give it a try. You'll find everything you need to make it in your neighborhood grocery store. Here's the recipe.
Stir-Fried Tofu with Bok Choy...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Harumi Kurihara
3/4 pound firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon Asian(dark) sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 head of bok choy (about 3/4 pound), leaves and stalks sliced crosswise 1 inch thick
4 cups bean sprouts (9 ounces)
1 teaspoon crushed or grated chicken bouillon cube
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1) Wrap tofu in paper towels and drain in a strainer set over a bowl for 30 minutes. In a skillet, toast sesame seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, 1 minute. Let cool, then grind to a coarse powder.
2) In a large skillet, heat sesame oil. Add drained tofu, breaking it up into chunks with a spoon, and stir-fry over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer tofu to a plate.
3) In same skillet, heat vegetable oil. Add bok choy and stir-fry over moderately high heat until tender, 5 minutes. Add bean sprouts and stir-fry until heated through. Stir in tofu and season with crushed bouillon cube, salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with sesame seeds. Yield: 4 servings.
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