Photo: Kelly Rossiter
It doesn't take much to get me interested in cooking Chinese food, but a little trip to Chinatown the other day definitely put me in the mood for it. Other than the shiitake mushrooms, which are quite different in an Chinese market, I could get everything else in this particular recipe in the grocery stores which are nearby to me, but there is something quite wonderful about shopping in Chinatown.
Kaffir lime leaves, Thai holy basil, bird's eye chilies and more types of greens than you can imagine are part of the allure, but it's also kind of interesting and a bit odd to feel like a complete foreigner in the city of your birth. All the signs are in Chinese, and if the staff speak English, they aren't letting on.
There's nothing esoteric in this recipe however, just a nice straightforward tofu dish that's easy and tasty. You can prep and cook the mushrooms and bok choy in the time it takes for the tofu to bake, so other than the marinating (which you can do in the morning or the night before) this is a good weekday dinner. I couldn't find the sesame seeds, which I know I have, so I ended up doing without. Clearly it's time for spring cleaning in the kitchen cupboards.
This recipe is from The Canadian Living Vegetarian Collection by Alison Kent.
Baked Tofu with Steamed Sesame Bok Choy
1 pkg. firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup sodium-reduced soy sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp Asian chili paste or hot pepper sauce
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps or cremini mushrooms
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
4 baby bok choy
1 sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 green onions, sliced
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1. Cut tofu in half horizontally. In baking dish, whisk together soy and hoisin sauces, garlic, sesame oil and chili paste. Add tofu; turn to coat. Let stand for 1 hour or, refrigerated, up to 24 hours.
2. Bake in 350F oven, turning once, until golden, about 30 minutes. Reserving cooking liquid, cut tofu crosswise into 3/4 inch slices. Cover; keep warm.
3. Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute mushrooms and ginger until mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Cut bok choy lengthwise into quarters. Add to skillet along with red pepper and broth; bring to boil. Steam, covered, for 2 minutes. Uncover and add green onions; cook until bok choy is tender, about 2 minutes.
4. Reserving cooking liquid, remove vegetables from pan; arrange on platter. Top with tofu. Whisk reserved tofu cooking liquid into vegetable cooking liquid. Drizzle over tofu; sprinkle with sesame seeds.