Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tofu Eggplant and Kale Stir Fry Makes Me Happy

The story of this stir fry actually begins about 5 days before we made it, when our dad gave me one of those long slender eggplants (japanese? chinese?) for absolutely no reason (or rather, the reason was that they had been really cheap at Market Basket (or as he says, Marcheta Basketa), so he bought three and only needed two apparently). It sat on our counter forlorn and useless, being only one small eggplant, slowly shriveling, its glory fading...

Then a couple days later we grocery shopped together (Jenean was magically getting off work the same time as I was driving through the area so we met at the store). We've taken to only shopping with hand held baskets, hoping, it seems, to limit the purchases. This only sort of works... we're pretty overloaded by the end, stumbling messily up to the cashier (or I'm messy about it, anyway). I bought tofu, kale, brown rice, other things I can't remember. At home we realized I had already bought brown rice last time I shopped! Idiot! You know how you get it in your head that you're out of something? Then buy it ten times? Jenean has been doing this with shampoo lately.

Then a couple days after that we both got home at a normal hour, so we decided we'd stir fry the tofu WITH the poor little eggplant (thanks Dad! Like so many gifts you have given us, both material and otherwise, eventually we used and appreciated it!) and some kale, and whatever else.

First we started the brown rice,
Cook's Illustrated's way - baked in the oven for an hour, then a brief rest with a dishtowel over it (weirdly necessary!) and I really believe it's the only way ever to make brown rice. Having 4 pounds of it in the house, we decided to double the recipe to have spare in the fridge for another meal Jenean had planned.

Back to stir fry. Next we:

cubed and fried the eggplant and set it aside
cubed and fried the tofu and set it aside (I'm fussy with this step - turning so all sides are thoroughly browned and use way more oil than you think you should and don't TOUCH it at first or you'll just break it to bits! Let it sit there and get really brown and it'll come right up)
sliced and fried an onion in the now empty pan
chopped up and added the kale and stirred that around
soaked and squeezed and sliced some dried shitakes and added those
then Jenean minced lots and lots of garlic and ginger and threw that in

then I combined the water the mushrooms had soaked in (minus the grit at the bottom) with... a couple tablespoons or so of basically every asian condiment in my fridge:
oyster sauce
soy sauce
sweet chili sauce
toasted sesame oil (lots of this! I love this almost as much as marzipan. more maybe)
some rice wine vinegar

meanwhile, the kale softened, we could smell the lovely garlic and gingery smells smelling just right, so I whisked up all those crazy sauces and threw them in. Now, usually when i stir fry I add some corn starch to my liquid, so it gets thick and saucy in the pan. I didn't this time, and I may never bother to again, honestly. I got the pan really hot, and the sauce got just a little bit thick from boiling down (I think the oyster sauce helped), and it soaked into the eggplant and tofu, and it was great as is. We can leave King Corn out of this one.

J pulled out the sriracha to drizzle on top (the one asian condiment I had not yet added to the pot). Real good and easy.


  1. I just realized I did a Salinger-style parenthesis-within-a-parenthesis without even meaning to. RIP.

  2. I'm telling you, put a really good rice cooker on your registry. Ours is amazing and cooks all kind of rice (as well as other grains) with nary a problem.

  3. YES! Totally doing that. Do you recommend your model? What kind is it? I think I found one on the macy's site with good reviews but I'd rather know what someone I know likes.