When I grew up, my regular exposure to international eating consisted mainly of Italian (pizza, lasagna, and the like), Mexican (tacos) and some Eastern-European inspired family recipes. I recall eating out Chinese food as a really “exotic” restaurant meal.
Chinese and all Asian food are among our family’s favorite cuisines, but for many, the thought of cooking these flavors at home is imposing. The assumption is that the exotic and unique ingredients needed for authentic Asian flavor are too foreign to be used easily. But fear not! This authentic Szechuan stir-fry relies on a very common items to create extraordinary and very healthful Asian flavors.
While this stir-fry uses tofu and green beans, you can alter this recipe to suit your family’s preferences and whatever you happen to have on hand.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided use
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into one inch cubes
4 cups green beans, steamed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
3 cups cooked brown rice
Combine the water, soy sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and flour. Set aside.
Heat1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or browned slightly. Avoid stirring the tofu too much, to allow it to brown and so it does not crumbled. Remove from wok and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet or wok. Add the green beans, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Add the tofu and stir to combine.
Serve over brown rice.