Asian Tofu w/ Napa Cabbage Stir Fry?????
I have a beautiful head of napa cabbage from my CSA. Since I'm not a cook, my first reaction is to cook it the way I cook most of my veggies - saute with olive oil, garlic and onion. Not that that's bad, but I'd like to do a little more with this to turn it into a one pot meal. I imagine sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and ginger would be involved, but where, when and how much? Should I marinate my tofu first to give it some flavor? Can someone put this concept in an easy-to-follow recipe for this cooking-adverse hound? Any other ideas are welcome. (oh, and for some reason I have fish sauce in my house if that should come into play.) Thanks!
I assume that you are using fresh tofu and flavoring it. Tofu is kind of soft to do a vegetable stir fry unless you have done a lot of stir fry. If you have a pressed tofu (already flavored and much harder tofu) this you do not have to do the first step.
So since have stated that you are not someone who has done a lot of stir fry, this may be a good way to go.
After you have seasoned your tofu you lightly pan fry the tofu on both side until brown (cooked a little more then half way). Set aside for addition to the dish later. Slice the tofu squares into 1/2" length. So you have a piece of tofu 1/2" by 3" slices.
The cut the napa cabbage crosswise, keeping the green part soft apart from the white. The cooking time on a home stove top does not cook both on the same time unless you have the timing right about adding the white part in first and the green part in later. The white part requires a later cooking time.
Stir fry the white part first until almost cooked in oil, garlic and a little chicken broth (or chicken bullion powder) then set aside.
Then repeat for the green part. Return the white part and tofu to the wok. Finish off the dish by adding soy, sesame oil and maybe some oyster sauce. If you like a thicker sauce than use a little cornstarch mixed with a little water and add to the wok. If you like you can add some fish sauce but reduce the soy.
When you do a dish like this a few times you can do it all at one time. I just reduce it to these step since you said that you do not cook a lot.
Vegetable (you can use napa, but I prefer bok choy)
Heat up the garlic in oil. When the oil heats up, add the tofu and vegetable. Add salt and pepper and sauce to taste. Stir-fry. You don't want to overcook the vegetables, as it will become mushy. You can add some cornstarch to thicken the gravy if you'd like.
You can also add bamboo shoots, ginger slices, water chestnuts if you'd like.
Not a stir fry, but I really like napa cabbage in soup -- that's a real easy one pot meal! It gives a nice sweetness to the broth. Throw in some diced tofu, maybe some shiitake or enoki mushrooms, onion, a few ginger slices and a meaty pork bone. pure yum.
Here is a recipe for Mollie Katzen's Chile Cabbage with Shiitakes, Sweet Crisp Onions and Tofu:
It's absolutely delicious. I made it with napa cabbage and I think it was probably better than with regular cabbage. I've been thinking about making it again the next time I get an Asian cabbage in my CSA box.
Press the tofu under a plate and weight. Cube and simmer in soy sauce, water and ginger until firm. Stir fry the chopped (bit less than an inch wide) napa white parts in neutral oil and garlic, toss in the now firm and pre-cooked tofu and the chopped leafy napa for a minute plus a touch of water if needed (and just a bit of fermented black beans if you have any). Toss in a bit of hoisin, soy sauce, or oyster sauce. Slide onto serving dish. Top with a bit of toasted sesame oil and some cut chives.