Friday, June 4, 2010

Celebrate Good Kale Tofu Stir Fry

I have almost an entire bed of kale this year so I am thinking of any way I can to use up this nutrient-packed green.  The variety of kale I planted is called Dinosaur Kale.  Dark green, almost black.  Bumpy not curly like the kale you usually find in the grocery store.  And, I think it's more succulent and better tasting.

My latest kalebration was this delicious stir fry where it is paired with tofu and then served over soba noodles.  Tofu gets a bad wrap from a lot of people (including my co-blogger here), but I think if we stop thinking of it as a "meat substitute," and start thinking of it as its own thing, we'll find it surprisingly delicious.  Added bonuses are that it's much cheaper than meat (especially good meat), it's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and there's no worry about disinfecting every surface after you're done preparing it.  Here's a great way to try it out along with a couple of its other "super food" companions if you've been hesitant thus far!
-One block extra firm tofu (12 oz), drained
-1/4 c soy sauce
-1/4 c rice wine vinegar (or whatever kind you have)
-2 Tbsp sesame oil
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-2-inch piece of ginger, minced (or 2 tsp dried)
-red pepper flakes
-2 Tbsp honey
-Soba noodles
-1/2 large onion, chopped
-2 green onions, sliced
-basil, chiffonade
-sesame seeds, toasted

->  A few hours before you plan on cooking it, I like to wrap my tofu in a tea towel or cloth napkin and then sandwich it between two plates, placing weight on the top.  This will press out any excess liquid, making your extra firm tofu even more firm, eliminating a complaint many people have about the "mushy" texture of tofu.

An hour before you start cooking, mix up your marinade for the tofu.  Marinating tofu is another way to add flavor to it, making it more desirable to the new tofu eater.  Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, 3 cloves of the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.  Slice the tofu in half-inch slabs, lay flat in a pan, and pour marinade over top.  Half an hour later, flip your tofu so that the marinade penetrates both side evenly.  When it's time to get cooking, cut the tofu slabs into half-inch cubes.

Now it's time to get cooking!  Dump your remaining marinade into a small sauce pan, add honey and about 1/2 c water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until slightly thickened and ready to add it to the stir fry.

Also at this time, put water on to boil for your soba noodles, and cook them according to package directions until al dente.

Meanwhile, saute onion, and garlic together in about a 1/4 c of oil until almost translucent.  Push to the sides of the pan, and add tofu to the center.  Brown the tofu cubes in the oil, keeping them in the center (where it's hottest) while your onions stay on the edges.  Once onions are translucent and tofu is browned, add the kale, season with salt and more red pepper flakes if desired, and cover, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted and well-mixed with tofu and onions.  Top with the sauce you've had simmering.

Serve the kale-tofu stir fry over the soba noodles.  Top with green onions, basil (I used local purple basil here), and toasted sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

~*TIP:  Using soba noodles instead of rice or pasta is a good way to boost the filling power and nutritional content of your meal.  These whole-grain buckwheat noodles, traditionally found in Japanese cooking, contain significantly more protein than their rice and pasta counterparts, as well as many other valuable nutrients.

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