Tofu: A First

Today in cooking lab for the course I’m taking we applied the concepts of sauteing, making a slurry (thin mix of liquid and starch) and deglazing by route of the lovely stir fry.  The class made a chicken stir fry but our fabulous instructor Julie brought in tofu for those of us who wanted to cook meatless.  I’ve never cooked with tofu so I was glad to be given the opportunity.  It’s a great plant-based protein source which also includes many other healthful nutrients.

Working with tofu - a first!

We got to pick lots of vegetables: red pepper, scallions, fresh garlic, green beans, pea pods and something new for me: bok choy (I figured, why not try it while I have an opportunity in this class). It’s like celery in the stalk, romaine for the leaves.  Upon further research I found that it’s a great source of Vitamins A, C, K and folate along with other nutrients. As with fresh vegetables: more color, more nutrients.

Bok Choy - another first!

We also got to grate fresh ginger – another first for me. Some tips I learned: peel with the back of your knife or a spoon and then cover the grater with a piece of plastic to ease the gathering and cleanup of ginger. Smelled great!

Grating fresh ginger

We got our ingredients all ready and the sauté was ready to get started. The key is to start with a very hot pan. Add a bit of oil and toss in the protein, letting it set for a moment before stirring to get that caramelization browning started. Then toss in the peanuts, ginger and cayenne pepper followed by the vegetables. We had made some rice too – easy with a 2:1 ratio of water to rice and a simmer of about 20 minutes.

The saute begins

The last step was to add the soy sauce slurry for flavor and thickening. Since there was some browning on the bottom of the pan we added a small bit of water to the pan to deglaze the bottom which let us scrape up the brown flavoring to add to the dish. The stir fry was served on top of the rice and I must say

Final tofu stir fry over rice

the tofu was tasty (as opposed to trying a bit of it plain when I opened the package – – plain!). The seasoned tofu actually had a nice brown coloring and flavor and really did look a lot like chicken stir fry. The whole dish tasted great and I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply these concepts to a meatless dish and know how easy and healthy it can be once you have some key ingredients on hand. I’m so glad I’m taking this course. Thanks, Chef Julie!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Really!?
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 21:31:11

    I love bok choy and just bought a ton of it fresh from Chinatown!


  2. Chef Guyette
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 22:05:19

    Great photos, looking forward to the next class!


  3. Jacquie
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 21:05:45

    Wow, that looks seriously yummy!


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