Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Simple Tofu Veggie Stir Fry

Sri Om.

I absolutely love every stir fry of every kind, pure vegetarian of course. They're so easy to make, so delicious, and so versatile in that you can add anything and still make it awesome. Stir fry is my number one choice for dinner, because it's brilliant that something so delicious is so healthy! My husband wasn't a fan of it before after trying thai food, but these days, because I add some spice into it, he loves it just as much as I do!

Tofu + Veggies + Sauce + Peanuts = Heaven!

 I'd like to share a few lines from a classical carnatic keerthanai that I inevitably think of and start to sing every time I make a stir fry (wierd, right?!). It's completely inadvertent, and I start singing this wonderful melody subconsciously. Next thing I know, I'm taken aback by myself, because I've just become predictable to myself! Oh dear...

Both the song and the lyrics are absolutely mesmerising. I first heard these beautiful lyrics sung by Mahanidhi Shobana Vignesh, and she has done a tremendous job in her rendition. There is a small aalaap in the Pallavi, which awakens my soul every time I hear it. She sings it with so much ease! I just gawk at her in awe... She's brilliant. I'm sure you'll enjoy it too -

Ragam : Tilang
Tal : Adi (Tisram)
Composer : Ilangkamban

"Chinnanjiru kuzhandai onru kanavil vandhadhu,
Singaara punnagayaal, ennai kavardhadhu.

Vetri tharum adhan kayil vel irundadhu,
Villum adhan vizhiyum endan mel irundadhu.
Nettri thiruneeru paalai pol irundadhu,
Neela mayil meedhu adhan kaal irundadhu!

Vanna mani marbil muthu malai kidandathu,
Vantha kinkini osai kaadhil thodardathu.
Ponnana athan mugamo poovai vendrathu,
Potrum endhan peyar yethuvo, Murugan endrathu!
Kangalai naan thirandhen kaatchi maridadhu,
Kanda andha kaatchi edhelaatchi viradadhu.
Mann urangum edhilum, endhan manam urangavillai,
Mayakkam andha mugathai thavira vera edhum theriya villai!

Isn't she brilliant?

Off to today's recipe -
Total Time Required: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 people

1 block (200 grams) of hard/firm tofu or firm beancurd
1 large capsicum
1 large onion
10 beans
10 mushrooms (I used Shittake)
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon of crushed ginger
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely into tiny pieces (optional)
2 green chillies, chopped in half (optional)
2 tablespoons of oil
3 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons of chilli sauce/peanut sauce/any other spicy sauce of your choice)
1 handful of slightly crushed peanuts
2 shallot shoots, sliced finely

NOTE: You can add other vegetables too, such as broccoli, cauliflower, edamame, bean shoots, water chestnuts, pineapple pieces and shredded cabbage. I tend not to add vegetables like pumpkin, eggplant and any type of gourd as it makes the dish a bit mushy, and ruins it for me. But if you like them, cook them carefully so they don't fall apart.

Chop the onion into medium sized strips. Chop all the other vegetables in a similar size. The reason we do this is to promote even cooking across the wok.
Take paper towels and pat your tofu/bean curd dry. Wrap it in paper towel and place a weight on it for 10 minutes to remove most of the moisture, so that it is dry enough to soak up the stir fry sauces. Cut it up into thin strips.

Heat your wok. Add the oil. Once it is hot, add the jeera (cumin seeds) and wait till they crackle. Add onions, chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute till the onions are translucent. Don't let them brown! We want them to be tender.

Add the tofu, and saute it for 5 minutes, till it is tender.
Now, add all the other vegetables, mix it well, close the lid and allow to cook for just 5 minutes.
Add soy sauce. Stir in well. Leave for 2 minutes on high heat.
Add your sauce of choice. I used Sambel Chilli Sauce, which is nice and spicy, just the way we like it!
Stir it in well, and allow it to cook for 2 minutes.

Sprinkle crushed peanuts on your serving plate, and top with some finely sliced shallots. DONE!

Serve hot with rice!

NOTE: There's a reason why I did not add salt to this. Soy sauce is very salty, and provides more than enough salt for the entire dish, and you will make it very salty if you add salt on top of that.