Saturday, December 10, 2011

Busy Day Stir Fry As Good As Take-Out

Every Christmas I ask myself the same question: If Santa has elves to help him get ready for the big day, why can't I? I never receive an answer, so this year I took myself seriously and began hunting for elves for rent.

I looked in the yellow pages, the want ads, Googled elves for rent, put an ad on Twitter and posted my desires on Facebook. Not a single elf to be found. I suppose Santa has them all tied up this time of year. Personally, I think that's being selfish. But then again, the elves are likely thrilled. Seems they are the only ones who never have to deal with being unemployed.

My wishes were few: elves to make the presents or shop for the presents; wrap the presents; write the Christmas cards and get them in the mail; fill the candy dishes with goodies; put up the tree and decorate it; then make the cookies for Santa and make sure they were on the table Christmas Eve, along with a glass of milk. After all, sliding down chimneys has to be hard work.

After reaching the conclusion that no elves were available, I picked myself up and decided to do things myself. Just like always. I'm busy, busy. Just like all of you. That's why I dug out a favorite vegan cookbook and stirred up a favorite recipe. I like Robin Robertson's "Vegan On The Cheap", not only for its tasty offerings, but because everything in it is economical to make.

Since I love Chinese food, and Robin's recipe for stir fry that's as good or better than take-out is not only a favorite dish, but quick to make, I thought you might like to give it a try during this busy season. I made a few adjustments, as I always seem to do. You know me by now. I always have to change something for my own palette. You can do the same. Oh, and by the way, if you hear of any elves for rent in your neighborhood, send me a note so I know where to find them next year.


3 cups broccoli florets, cut small
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. cornstarch
4 green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 Tbs. dry sherry (I left out since I didn't have it on hand)
1 Tbs. ketchup
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp. Asian chili paste
2 Tbs. water
Freshly cooked rice

I used my big wok since it makes stir-frying a cinch.

The recipe calls for steaming the broccoli and carrots until tender, but I don't care for steamed veggies, so I stir fried them and placed them aside till later in the recipe.

Cut the tofu into small dice and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the corn starch over the tofu and toss to coat.

In the wok, place a thin layer of vegetable oil and set the heat to medium. Add the tofu and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the tofu from the wok and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of vegetable oil in the wok set over medium heat. Add the green onions, garlic, ginger, and cook till soft. Stir in the stock, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sherry, ketchup, sesame oil, and chili paste. 

Combine the remaining 1 Tbs. of corn starch with 2 Tbs. of water and pour into the wok, stirring to thicken. Add the tofu and cooked vegetables back into the pan and cook long enough to heat everything through. Serve over hot rice.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. Even the non-vegans I've served it to always go back for more.

Serves 4

These are the non-vegans who ate my stir fry. Don't they look happy?


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