When I was growing up, one of my favourite vegetable-heavy dishes was a stir-fry my mother made using broccoli, shrimp, tofu and ginger. The broccoli was delicately infused with the flavour of ginger and the sea, making it a comfort food that was actually healthy. When I grew up, I learned to make it too, albeit not quite as well as my mother. Unfortunately, I fell in love with a man who’s allergic to shrimp and shellfish, and more recently, I developed irritable bowel syndrome and found broccoli disagrees with me because it’s high in FODMAPs.
It took awhile but I’ve since developed this tofu vegetable dish as an alternative. Sometimes I add thinly sliced chicken breast too, if I want it to be a main dish, but more often I make it as a vegetable side dish. It’s not quite what I remember but it hits the same notes – soft, saucy, gingery, mildly salty. It’s also a dish that’s easy to throw together by feel, without having to measure ingredients, so the quantities given here are approximate. Make it to your own taste.
Gingery tofu and vegetable stir fry
Serves 4-8, depending on whether this is a major part of the meal or just a side.
- 2-3 heads pak choi/bok choy, roughly chopped
- 1 package soft tofu, cubed
- 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2-3 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagnonal
- 2-3 carrots, thinly sliced (optionally, made into “flowers” by notching the carrots in five places and slicing into rounds)
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce/tamari
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch/cornflour
- 2-4 tablespoons cold water, sake or cold low-FODMAP chicken broth (no onion or garlic)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sesame oil
- Optional: 2 thinly sliced chicken breasts, marinated for at least 30 minutes in sake and 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
- In small bowl, combine soy sauce, cornflour and the liquid of your choice. Set aside.
- Heat a little sesame oil in hot wok.
- Optional, but if you like a slight firmness to your soft tofu, carefully shallow pan fry in sesame oil or butter. Set aside. I skipped this step this time around. If you did this, add a little more oil to the wok.
- If using chicken, stir-fry until cooked but not too browned. Set aside.
- Sitr-fry celery and carrot for a minute or two.
- Add ginger and bok choy/pak choi. Stir-fry for another minute or two, until vegetables are tender-crisp.
- Add contents of small bowl of liquid. Stir-fry briefly until sauce thickens.
- Taste it and adjust as necessary. Does it need more liquid? More cornstarch? More salt? More ginger? (You don’t want a too-dark colour to this dish, so if it needs salt, it’s best to add salt rather than soy sauce.)
- If using chicken, return to wok and mix in just long enough to reheat.
- Add tofu and gently stir to coat without breaking the cubes too much. Serve with rice.