Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Night Supper: Tofu with Soy Dressing, Bok Choy with Garlic Black Bean Sauce, Rice with Ginger and Cilantro

It is so hot outside. So hot. I'm very intolerant of heat. In order to reduce my time in front of stove while still making something to eat, I turned to another recipe I got from our friends.  It was a really light and tasty tofu with soy sauce dressing.  To go along with it, I also made rice with ginger and cilantro, and bok choy with black bean garlic sauce.

The tofu dish is very flexible in terms of amount and the seasoning.  This is what you need:
  • Block of silken tofu (I used two 14.5 oz packages because we had someone coming over, but you can make as little or as much as you like) 
  • Soy sauce (about 3 TBS)
  • Sesame oil (about 2 TBS)
  • Rice vinegar (about 2 tsp)
  • Green onions, sliced thinly (I used two)

Sorry the "recipe" is so loose, it's really to taste.  For the sauce, I used about a 3:2:1 ratio of soy sauce to sesame oil to rice vinegar.  Mix the three together, and throw about 2/3 of the sliced scallions into the sauce (leaving some scallions to scatter on top fresh).  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.  I did this because I thought just fresh scallions would be a bit too harsh, so "marinating" them made them into more palatable salty bits.

While the sauce is sitting, slice up the tofu.  For presentation, I kept it in the block shape, but you don't have to do that.

Pour sauce over the sliced block of tofu, making sure to pour sauce down the crevices as well. Sprinkle remaining fresh scallions over top. Serve.

For the bok choy:
  • about 2 tsp of black bean garlic sauce (actually I'm totally not sure but just be careful this stuff is salty)
  • 2 tsp water
  • about 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 4-5 heads of baby bok choy, washed well, trimmed, and leaves separated (I separate them because I find them easier to clean this way, but you can keep them whole--just make sure tehre are no little pockets of dirt/grit hiding toward the bottom of the leaves)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Mix together black bean garlic sauce (there was this Lee Kum Kee bottled stuff at the store so that's what I used) with water. Put aside.

Place sesame oil and sliced garlic into deep skillet. Turn stove onto medium-low heat.  Watch carefully so that oil and garlic doesn't cook too fast.  After garlic becomes all fragrant but before it turns brown, turn up heat to med-high, and then throw bok choy in. Toss to coat with oil.

Pour in sauce mixture and toss.  Add more water if it looks a bit dry, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes (adjust heat if necessary). You're basically doing a really quick braise. At the end, remove a little of the cooking liquid (a few tsp) into a bowl and mix well with the cornstarch. Stir the cornstarch mixture back into the pan with the bok choy and cook for a few more minutes. Then you're done.  I don't have any pictures of the final product. It was good.

For the rice (you can obviously adjust this to taste and/or for the amount of rice you're making):
  • 1 cup jasmine rice (this was the only rice I had lying around)
  • 1 1/4 water
  • 1 tsp slivered ginger (next time I would use about 2 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
After years of screwing up rice, I think I've got a system.  First, rinse the rice really really well. Second, I always used to put in way too much water because I thought it was supposed to be 2 parts water to 1 part rice.  But now, I use 1.25 parts water to 1 part rice (and keep in mind that the rise is already water-logged after the rinsing, so in reality it's probably more like 1.5 parts water to 1 part rice). But anyway.  I have a rice cooker so I threw the rice, water, and ginger in there.  Cook according to instructions.

When it's done, fluff with fork...

Are you all getting really annoyed at me for telling you how to cook rice? Yeah, the stuff that comes in packages that has its own set of instructions? I'd be annoyed, except like I said I've been an idiot about cooking rice for the longest time.

...and place top back on, but leaving it a crack open, for about 5-10 minutes.  Sprinkle with cliantro and serve.

By the way, you could also put salt in this to make it more flavorful.  I didn't because of all the salt in the tofu and bok choy, but a little salt would have been nice.



  1. I love good summer dishes. I definitely need more summer recipes since it's pretty much 100 degrees here for the next 2-3 months. Thanks for all the great ideas!!

  2. Yum, I love cilantro. And tofu. And green onions. Looks delish!

  3. yummm. sak and i eat something like that tofu dish quite often. it's good with bonito shavings on top! and black bean + veggie is always a favorite of mine. sak isn't a fan of the sauce though. he once ate a whole spoonful straight out of the jar cause he "wanted to see what it tasted like". bad, bad way to find out!