Monday, April 26, 2010
Fresh Green Beans, Part Two
This was the last of them. There's enough leftover for Mr. ETB's lunch tomorrow.
You Will Need:
Green Beans, French cut (I used about a quart)
2 large carrots, matchsticked
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, matchsticked
1 bunch scallions, chopped
8 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 heaping tablespoon 5 spice powder
3 tablespoons hoisan sauce
A generous squirt of hot sauce
1 block extra firm tofu, fried (see instructions below)
Combine everything in a plastic ziplock bag and place in a bowl (really, you don't want to chance it, having the fridge reek in sesame oil is a pain). Give it a turn every so often, but let it sit for at least an hour. Overnight is good too. I like planning ahead. The only vegetables I don't like using in a prolonged storage like this are cabbage and mushrooms as they tend to throw off quite a bit of water. Otherwise, feel free to use what you like. Keep in mind, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots will absorb the brown colour and look drab, but if that isn't an issue for you (and really, if it IS an issue for you...well I don't know, you're probably related to my mother)go ahead and toss them in. You can give this treatment to just about any vegetable you have. Maybe not eggplant.
Prepare the tofu ahead:
Get a stack of cotton towels handy-you'll need them. Press the block of tofu gently, but firmly between a towel. Grab another towel and repeat. Slice tofu into four slabs. Press between towels. Repeat with a fresh towel. You'll pretty much follow this routine until the towel is no longer wet when you exert pressure on the tofu. Proceed to cut into cubes (and blot off any additional moisture). Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy pan (I use my cast iron pan rather than the wok, but use what you have). Once oil is hot, add the tofu in batches, turning with a fork until deeply golden on all sides of each cube. Remove to a rack over a baking sheet. Proceed with next batch. When all are done and cool, set on a plate and place in the fridge until needed. Tightly wrapped, it will keep for a couple of days.
Heat a large wok or pan and dump in your bag of vegetables. Cook until nearly done (I cook them a bit softer than desirable because I'm cooking for a young child, but if the grown-ups at your house can manage crisp vegetables, I think green beans are nicer still vibrant. If you think it needs more oil at this point, go ahead and add it.
In the last few minutes, add the cooked tofu, just to give it a coating of sauce.
Serve hot over rice or noodles (I served it over Jasmine rice).