Yum of the Week: Toofu for Me

toofu.jpg Sunday morning I went to the farmer’s market for my weekly produce shopping. As I wandered through the shops, I noticed something different- something out of place. The kiwi stand had moved… the tomatoes were different- and… there was a completely new stand offering something called Toofu. Toofu? And it claimed to make a fresh batch every twenty minutes… I was intrigued but confused. It turned out that this new company Toofu has a “soymobile” that they drive to local bay area Farmer’s Market and use to make fresh “toofu” on the spot. How cool is that? It reminds me of the local tofu trucks in Japan, or the little specialty tofu shops at the train stations… I couldn’t have their soymilk as it uses a proprietary grain based sweetener, but I bought one lovely block of tofu and began imagining how I would prepare it. I’m not a huge fan of cold tofu, so I decided that fried tofu was the way to go. I love the contrast between the crispy, crunchy exterior and creamy, soft interior. I think it really allows you to appreciate the delicate flavor of the tofu. I thought of a replica recipe I stumbled across some time ago for PF Chang style “spicy shrimp” and decided to try it with tofu instead. The vegetable saute was entirely my own invention, and an attempt to keep the sodium down to reasonable levels. PF Chang serves their spicy shrimp or chicken with a crunchy saute of celery and other veggies- since I hate celery, I always wish they’d leave it out. We enjoyed our spicy tofu and veggies with some leftover brown rice. I can’t wait to get some more fresh tofu next week, and try it in another yummy tofu dish.

Pickings at our local farmer market seem to be a little slim recently, partly due to all the people rushing to enjoy the gorgeous weather we’ve had lately. I’m especially sad to see the winding down of the mutant kiwi sales. Alas, just as I fell in love with those funny, bulbous fruits, it seems like their season is over. Alas, alas. The lime and avocado man has also vanished- and plentiful apples have been replaced with strawberries of varying degrees of sweetness. I did find some very lovely beets- and unique green and purple scallions, and I look forward to seeing what new delights are waiting me as Spring advances. Stay posted- and while you’re at it, why not check your local farmer’s market? There might even be some gluten free baked goods waiting for you.

Click HERE to find a farmer’s market in your area (US).
If you’re a resident of California click HERE to find a market associated with the California Federation of Certified Farmer’s Markets.

tofuback.jpg spicytofudish.jpg

A reader asked where I found the gluten free hoisin sauce. Edward and Sons, AKA Premier Japan Biologique, has a Wheat Free Hoisin sauce (labeled accordingly). You can see a list of their GF products here. Both their hoisin and teriyaki sauce are GF. You can see images of the bottles if you scroll down on this page.

This recipe can be used with a non-vegetarian ingredient like shrimp as well. See the Whole Gang’s Friday Food Fix blog event with gluten-free shrimp recipe roundup

PF Chang Style Spicy Tofu
Tofu  Chinese  
Ingredients
Spicy Tofu:
1 lb. firm tofu, cut into cubes
Potato starch
Peanut oil
3 teaspoons oil back into hot wok
1 clove chopped garlic
1/4 cup green onions
1 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
1 1/2 ounce house white sauce (i like vegetable
boullion with a touch of GF hoisin sauce or gf san-j tamari)
2 ounce Chang’s Sauce (equal amounts of sugar and vinegar combined)
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 teaspoon cornstarch

Veggie Stir Fry:
2 carrots cut into matchsticks
5 or 6 large cabbage leaves, with spine cut out and cut into sticks, and the leafy part cut into rectangles
1 cup mushroom caps, sliced
Tops of green onions

Veggie Sauce:
1 oz rice vinegar
1 oz sugar
1 oz vegetable broth
1 tsp cornstarch

Directions
Lightly coat tofu with potato starch.

Fill hot wok with enough peanut oil to fry tofu. Fry tofu for two
to three minutes until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
Put tofu on plate with paper towels. Rinse out the wok.

Add oil back into hot wok, garlic, green onions, chili paste, house
white sauce, Chang’s Sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch. Mix in fried
tofu. Sauce should bind to the tofu.

For the Veggie Stir Fry, take one tablespoon or so of oil from the tofu frying oil, heat in wok and add the veggies. Stir fry to desired level of crispiness (or just under it) and create a well in the middle of the veggies. Add Veggie sauce, combine with ingredients and let thicken over heat.

Serve tofu with steamed rice or noodles, and on bed of slivered vegetables if desired. Enjoy!

Notes
Recipe adapted from recipe for PF Chang’s Spicy Chicken found at:
http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/525/PF_Changs_Spicy_Chicken45490.shtml

As you can see, we are still playing with the proportions of sauce,
but the basic idea is there.

You can also substitute shrimp or chicken for the tofu.


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10 Responses to “Yum of the Week: Toofu for Me”

  1. Umm..so good!! I need to try this.

    :)

  2. This looks so good. I want to make it minus the spicy paste. Otherwise, where did you find gluten free hoisin? I love hoisin and didn’t know gf existed. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. The spiciness is actually balanced out by the sugar- my DH is very sensitive to spicy food *sigh* so I have to tone things down for him pretty heavily. I use a chili garlic sauce as well, which has a vinegar base and so isn’t as spicy as, say, those Thai spicy curry pastes. I’m afraid without it the dish might be a bit bland… but you can also add more hoisin etc.

    I’ll add some info about GF hoisin sauce to the original post, so look up for links to the gluten free hoisin sauce. :)
    -Sea

  4. …and now i know whats for dinner tonight. Looks awesome! And my kids love fried tofu so this one is a win-win.

  5. [...] There are two really cool things about my DH. One is that he is willing to try almost any food once, and even if he doesn’t like it the first time, he’ll try it a few more times to make sure. The other thing is that when he found out I was Gluten Intolerant (Celiac, actually), he didn’t even blink and continued with his efforts to sweep me off my feet- with gluten free foods instead of gluten foods. As I got to know him better, I found out that his favorite thing in the entire universe is actually Chinese food, which was rather sad as I rarely have success dining at most Chinese places. Even when friends have tried ordering for me (in Cantonese, no less), simple things like vegetables stir fried in salt and oil somehow don’t escape the contamination monster, resulting in me feeling icky all evening. Boo. In recent years I’ve discovered the joys of Chinese American Restaurants like P.F. Chang and their sister restaurant, Pei Wei with their gluten free menus, but when DH and I were first dating I didn’t know of anywhere where I could eat Chinese food safely. So, when DH had a craving for Chinese food, I’d drink tea and eat plain rice and, let’s be honest, mope a little bit. When DH proposed and I suddenly had a fiancee facing years of Chinese food deprivation, I decided that it was high time that I learn how to prepare Chinese food properly. I started experimenting with a book by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, who wrote what in my opinion is the best Chinese Vegetarian Cookbook ever, (out of print) book, From the Earth: Chinese Vegetarian Cooking. I learned new techniques like blanching vegetables and incorporating them in corn starch thickened sauces to avoid blandness- I learned how to season oil with scallions or fresh garlic clove- and I learned how healthful and delicious Chinese vegetarian food could be, and grew to love it as much as DH. There have been some failures. I can’t help but think of my first time steaming bok choy, when I misread the directions and steamed the life out of that poor baby green for 30 minutes, resulting in slime that could possibly have been used in a horror movie as a stand in for gelatinous goo trailed by some nightmarish creature. It also took several times working with a recipe to perfect the steaming time and balance of sauce to ingredients, but once I mastered each recipe we’d have another regular favorite for our Chinese meals. One of the first recipe I mastered is this recipe for Broccoli and Mushrooms. The freshness of the mushrooms are key, and I prefer to use whole broccoli stalks, cutting my own florets, as the ones you buy precut are usually slightly wilted and mopey by the time you get them to your fridge at home, while the whole broccoli remains more robust. We often increase the sauce by about 1/3rd or so, as DH likes a lot of yummy sauce with his vegetables. I just love this dish, as it incorporates two of my favorite veggies. I made a P.F. Chang Style tofu recipe to accompany it, of course using fresh, delicious toofu from the farmer’s market. What delicious Chinese foods do you prepare at home? [...]

  6. [...] version of P.F. Chang-style spicy fried tofu and this soy free stir fry [...]

  7. Wow, I don’t usually cook with tofu but you made this look really good. I might try it after I use the shrimp. I wonder what using both would be like? I love the idea of the fresh tofu from a mobile tofu making kitchen. Very cool. Nothing like that in VA. Maybe I’ll get to check it out when I’m in the bay area. Thank you for sharing this with Friday Foodie Fix.

  8. I haven’t eat much tofu, but I’m always up for trying something new. Your recipe and photos look incredible. I’ll have to add this to the list of things to make soon. Thanks for sharing.

  9. While I’ll go for the shrimp version, that “toofu” mobile kitchen sounds great for you tofu lovers. :-)

    Thanks!
    Shirley

  10. That’s an awesome picture of PF Chang Style Spicy Tofu. I printed out the recipe and am planning to try it soon!

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