Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stir-Fried Tofu with Bok Choy

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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Diane said...

Although I do on occasions eat tofu, it is not something that I am over enjoyed about because it is so bland. Perhaps I should try this with the sesame. Keep well Diane

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

Hello Mary~hopping in to wish you a wonderful Easter.
Your recipe will be a perfect brunch dish.
At this holiday I'm always flooded with memories of wearing fluffy dresses and petticoats with fluffy hair to match.
One memory stands out... as a young adult when I wasn't able to return home for Easter. My sweet mom sent me an Easter box, which included dyed eggs...I refer to them as "died" Easter eggs. Snail mail produced a box accompanied with a foul odor. I still laugh hysterically when I think about the stink bomb going off when it was opened. Fortunately I was able to rescue the remaining treats from my box.

Getting these small glimpses of spring we've been taunted with has me craving a weather change.
I'm more than ready to welcome a fresh season of color.

Sweet wishes,

My Little Space said...

Mary, you just made my favourite vegetable dish. Oh how I love the combination.
Hope you're having a great weekend & Happy Easter Day to you & your family.

Barbara said...

It was a pleasure doing Harumi this week. Sorting through her recipes, there was a common element of simplicity and flavor. Fun to get a two-fer from you this week. Your scallop dish looks wonderful, but the tofu (something I rarely cook) is intriguing. Love the story behind it too.
I wondered how Harumi can remain so "housewifey" but still run a multi layered career. Although I think I read someplace her husband handles her business life.
Happy Easter, Mary!

Alessandra said...

Tofu and bok choy is fantastic :-). Good recipe for me, with veggies stock though :-).

Have a peaceful Easter mary!


Sprigs of Rosemary said...

I have everything I need to make this (even the bok choy!) except for the bean sprouts. But your description of the ground sesame seeds "making" the dish makes me want to try it anyhow. Hope you have a blessed holiday . . .

Priya Suresh said...

Fantastic stir fry,my kind of food..

Tanna said...

The recipe sounds wonderful... but, as is common for me... I enjoyed your sharing about these young people in your most wonderful way of writing. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Easter, Mary. blessings ~ tanna

Ola said...

I have never tried this bok choy, looks interesting!
Happy Easter to you!

Life and travelling

Catherine said...

Dear Mary, I don't usually eat tofu. I suppose I could substitute pork or chicken, but the recipe is something I would definitely enjoy.
Have a very wonderful and blessed Easter my dear. Blessings, Catherine xoxo

Ginny Hartzler said...

I have had baby bok choy, but not the regular. Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend, Mary!

Joanne said...

sometimes simple stir fries like this are all I crave or need!

France@beyondthepeel said...

HOw simple and divine. I can always go for bokchoy and this is so easy to put together. Thanks for sharing.

treatment for anxiety in children said...

This is perfect. I love the veggies in it.


tender b. said...

Love when tofu and bok choy bathe in sesame oil together.

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