Szechuan Stir Fry with Tofu

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It was 90 something degrees yesterday but what did we both want for dinner? Hot and spicy stir fry of course, AND I decided to oven fry the tofu on top of that! Hope the extra 200 or so calories I saved by skipping the pan frying was worth how heated my kitchen got with the oven cranked up to 375 degrees. Well, oven frying the tofu made cleanup way easier anyway so we’ll go with yes, it was worth it. This recipe gets its heat from dried chilies and toasted Szechuan peppercorns. I’ve been eating spicy foods my whole life and so I have a pretty high tolerance. Szechuan is the very definition of numbing heat but if you need a little less caliente then cut down on the amount of peppercorns and substitute red pepper flakes for the dried chili de arbol. Alternatively, you can pick out the arbol chilies from your portion, like Amy does, and give them to the chilihead in your life. My advice, however, is that a little heat does the body good.

Szechuan Stir Fry with Tofu

Ingredients:

Oven Fried Tofu, recipe follows

1 sm Bok Choy or half a lg one, trimmed and stalks sliced into large chunks reserving the leaves for later use

1 Sweet onion, skin removed, quartered, and cut into thin slices

1 Red bell pepper, cored, trimmed, seeds removed and cut into thin slices

1 cup or so of Snap Peas, trimmed

1″ piece of fresh Ginger, minced

3 cloves of Garlic, skins removed and chopped

about 2 tbsp low sodium Soy sauce

about 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 tomato, chopped

1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle

5 to 10 dried chile de arbols

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 servings rice Vermicelli, cooked per pkg instructions

about 2 tbsp Toasted Sesame oil

Garnish: Sunflower seeds, optional

Method:

In a wok over med high flame, toast the crushed peppercorns and chili de arbol until the oils are released and slightly fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add in the oil and once the oil begins to shimmer, add in the onions, bok choy stalks, ginger, and red bell pepper. Saute until tender and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add in the soy and Hoisin sauce, the tomato and garlic and continue cooking until the sauce has reached your desired consistency. Chiffonade the reserved bok choy: roll the leaves tightly, like a taquito, and slice into ribbons, set aside. Once sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and stir in the oven fried tofu, snap peas, and bok choy leaves until well combined with the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately with rice Vermicelli and garnish with sunflower seeds, if using.

Oven Fried Tofu

Ingredients:

1 pkg Tofu, drained and cubed into bite size chunks

1/4 cup Quinoa flour

1/4 cup Masa flour

2 to 3 tbsp Cornstarch

1 tsp Roasted Szechuan Salt

1 tsp Chinese Five Spice

2 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil

Black pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep a sheet tray by setting an oven safe wire rack on top of it. With a kitchen or paper towel, thoroughly coat the rack with a small amount of Toasted Sesame oil, and then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Toasted Sesame oil, Szechuan salt, Chinese Five Spice, and black pepper. Taste the marinade and adjust seasonings as needed. Gently toss the tofu around the bowl until well coated with the seasoned oil. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and toss the tofu again until well coated. Place the tofu on the oiled rack, making sure the pieces are not touching one another. Bake in the oven turning every 30 minutes or so until all sides are crisps and golden. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dishes, such as stir frys.

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