Stir-Crazy Stir-Fry! with Broccoli and Tofu

There’s nothing punkier than a little stir-fry, because, let’s face it, it’s one step beyond eating Ramen noodles for 75 cents, and ALL punk musicians live on Ramen noodles at some point.  But just ’cause it’s basic, doesn’t mean stir-fry has to be boring, greasy, or complicated!  And since I’m losing my mind with this broken ankle and all the sitting around I have to do, I thought I’d use my pain to add a catchy title to this whole shebang.  So now I present to you: Punky Chef 101 – Easy Asian Stir-Crazy Stir-Fry with Broccoli and Tofu… whew!

Can you tell I like my blue plate?  Hmm...

Can you tell I like my blue plate? Hmm...

Yes, I almost didn’t post this recipe because I thought, “Well, everyone knows how to make stir-fry,” and I thought, “Well, it’s not like I INVENTED the damn thing,” but THEN I thought, “Well, maybe NOT everybody knows how to make stir-fry and besides, this blog isn’t really about what I’ve invented, it’s about what I’ve LEARNED, and how I want to share that with YOU, dagnabbit!”  So in conclusion, on with the ‘fry!

TOOLS:
Big Knife
Spatula
Large frying pan

INGREDIENTS:
2 cloves garlic
1 box extra firm tofu (“box”?  You get me.)
3 big broccoli crowns
Extra virgin olive oil
Low-sodium soy sauce (’cause it’s healthier, that’s why.)

Serves: 2

RECIPE:
Ok, so the first big mistake we all make when cooking is to start cooking.

Whaa??

I know – I’m being cryptic.  Because it’s FUN to be cryptic and as I mentioned, I’m losing my mind.  What I mean is, when you watch the cooking shows and you see Ina(my love) and Rachel and Lidia turning on the burners and throwing in the garlic, while simultaneously chopping the vegetables and chicken, it’s like fine art – a ballet for the eyes!  Ahh, how they multi-task!!  BUT, do not be fooled.  Until you can cook and prep QUICKLY, I suggest always doing all the chopping and peeling and prepping BEFORE you turn on the heat and start to cook.  Then you can breathe easily while you’re cooking, because everything’s ready when you need it!

SO, with this revelation in mind, first peel your garlic cloves using the smash-n-strip method described in the TIPS section.  Chop ’em up small with your big knife and put them aside.  Then open your “box” of tofu (why can’t I think of a better word for that right now?) and slice it all up, about half inch lines across in both directions.  Yes, you will have a veritable PLETHORA of TOFUCULAR RECTANGLES!

(Sorry, Punky Chef a bit more like the PUNCHY Chef right now, as I mentioned.  Wanna see my boot again?)

At least it looks punky, eh?

Ahem, ok back to the cooking.

Set the tofu aside and take out your broccoli.  Cut the tops off with your big knife and rinse in a strainer or the salad spinner.  Broccoli is pretty tame, so maybe you don’t need the cumbersome spinner this time.

(Was there ever a better word invented than “CUMBERSOME?”  How fun is THAT to say?  – Punchy Chef.)

Ok.  So now you’re prepped and READY!  Swirl two rings of olive oil around the big frying pan and turn burner on medium/medium-high.  Toss in the chopped garlic.  The garlic acts as a “thermometer” here, because you’ll know when the pan is hot enough by when the garlic starts to “speak” – this is cute chef talk for the sizzly noise the garlic makes in the oil as it’s cooking.

So, once the garlic “conversation” is started (Punchy Chef laughing) throw in your tofu.  Spread all the pieces out as best you can so that they’re lying flat in the pan and let them sit about 7 minutes or so.  Basically now we’re going to fry, (fancy translation: “sauté”), the hell out of the tofu.  Because Punky Chef and Punchy Chef don’t like no squooshy tofu!  (Maybe YOU do – comment here, share your TOFeelings on this.  Oh, I SLAY myself.)

While you’re waiting, wash the big knife, strainer and cutting board you just used.  Ah loves me sum EFFICIENCY, people!

Now this is the only boring part of this recipe, so take a deep breath and we’ll get through it together.  You need to flip all the tofu rectangles over so the other side cooks.  Lemme tell you, there’s a lot of these suckers and it can be hard to coax them onto the spatula and over.  Tofu can be so reluctant sometimes.  But persevere until you have them all flipped, and then wait another 5 minutes or so.  You’ll see the tops are now nicely brown, and kinda crunchy.  In a good way.  You know, like people from Ithaca, New York.

(Stop!  You’re killing me!  -Punchy Chef.)

Ok!  Now it’s time for the broccoli, so just dump it in from the strainer and stir everything around to guide the broccoli to the bottom of the pan.   Another 5 minutes, and swirl the soy sauce all over everything, looking totally bad-ass and Food Networky while you do it.  Use as much as you like – dowse the damn pan or sprinkle – whatever your heart desires.  And being that this is STIR-FRY, people, you need to keep STIRRING!  (Well, don’t go crazy, but just enough to keep it all cooking evenly.)

You’re basically done at this point – just eye the broccoli to see how well done (translation: how floppy and soft) you like it.   I like a good crunch in mine, so after the soy saucing, I only leave it another 3 minutes or so.  And then…

SERVE and ENJOY!!

It’s healthy, it’s CHEAP, and it gives you a *little* gas, but that’s OKAY, because now you are a true punk!  You have graduated from Ramen and become a true Stir-Crazy Stir-Fryer!  And look – you can serve it all up on a pretty blue plate and take a picture for the internet…

VARIATIONS: I used to make an even punkier version of this which I called Salad Bar Stir Fry – I would graze the salad bar at the grocery store and pick out a little bit of everything I wanted – coupla slices red bell pepper, handful water chestnuts, maybe a baby corn or two… until I realized I don’t like all of that “chazarai” in my ‘fry.  (It’s Yiddish for “messy collection of stuff”.  And no, I don’t know how to spell it.)  So I pared it all down to broccoli and tofu.  But of course throw whatever you like in here!  Just don’t break your ankle while you’re doing it.

wuv,
Sam

Oh I'm sorry - did I show you this, already?

Oh I'm sorry - did I show you this, already?

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Violet said,

    I’m going to try this 🙂

  2. 2

    I honestly thought you were going to show me how to cook an oriental dish in a popcorn machine.


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