I think everyone has stir fry in their quick dinner rotation. Somewhere in there, between the nachos, the pasta with tomato sauce, and the BBQ (#straya) is the humble stir fry. And while the stir fry can leave you feeling like a kale smoothie drinking yoga teacher (particularly relative to the nachos) it can sometimes be a struggle to create something other than a bowl of limp vegetables with a bit of soy on them. 'Tis the story of my life.
As I have mentioned previously, my inability to make things taste authentic creates a ball of rage inside me. How is it this hard? All the Chinese restaurants can do it? So, after yet another less than satisfactory attempt, I decided to take inspiration from the demigods that are Ottolenghi and Tamimi, I spent more time on my sauce than I did on my stir fry. And I was impressed with the results.
5 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1.5 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (omit for the vegos or vegans)
5g green chilli, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 kaffir lime leaf (can omit but hot damn kaffir lime is good)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 block of firm tofu, cubed
2 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (again for veg and vegan)
2 teaspoons tapioca or arrowroot flour
10g ginger, chopped into matchsticks
2 tablespoons peanut oil
100g red capsicum
100g yellow capsicum
30 carrot shavings (use your peeler)
00g bok choi or pak choi
small handful thai basil
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a small saucepan, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce except for the sesame oil. Put on a medium heat and stir occasionally for around 10 minutes. Set aside, and add the sesame oil at the end.
3. Mix together the sauce for the tofu and cover the cubed tofu thoroughly. Put the tofu on a tray lined with baking paper. Cook for 15-20 minutes, and then turn and repeat. Can I say tofu any more in this sentence? Apparently. Tofu.
4. Get all your veg chopped and ready 2 go. It makes stir frying much less stressful. Trust me, it can be stressful. When your carrots are turning to mush in the wok and you are frantically chopping capsicum? Stressful.
5. Tofu should be done, sauce ready to go. Let's stir fry! Start by adding the peanut oil, ginger matchsticks and broccolini to your work, and next up the carrot and capsicum. Now we go for tofu, thai basil and bok choi. I find it helpful to put a lid on the stir fry (even if it doesn't cover all of it) to help steam the veg a little bit without making it too soggy.
6. Finally, cover with sauce and serve! A few serving ideas: Rice, buckwheat soba, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds. Yum.