Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DINNER: Spicy Thai Tofu with Red Bell Peppers and Spinach

I love Thai food, but all too often, I find it to be overly greasy.  I also don't care for all of the fried components, which I often feel add little to taste, but far too much to calorie count.  I came across a very useful basic recipe on Epicurious, but found it to be too bland (and mushy) for my taste.  I added my own spin by adding in additional ingredients, and of course, making it fat-conscious.  I served this with Thai spicy chicken curry (recipe to come) and brown rice  - enjoy:
Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsps finely chopped or minced fresh ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 14-to 16-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained well, cut into small cubes (I recommend you make four to five slices from the top and side to make nice sized cubes)
  • Small bunch of green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
  • 3 tbsps soy sauce
  • 1-2  tbsps fish sauce (available in the asian section of any grocery store)
  • 2-3 tbsps Sriracha sauce (Thai sauce that comes in a clear bottle or squeeze bottle - people typically identify it by the Rooster on the label)
  • 2-3 tbsps lime juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tbsps of prepared basil concentrate (try "Herbs in a Tube" - available in the produce section of most grocery stores)
  • 1/3 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp corn starch 
Instructions:
  • Heat oil in wok over high heat
  • Add bell peppers, ginger, and garlic; sauté on medium heat for approximately 2-3 minutes
  • Mix all sauces and oils (soy, fish, sesame oil, and Sriracha)
  • Add tofu, green onions, and sauce mixture to the wok  - stir well and allow to heat for 3-4 minutes
  • Add in peanut butter - ensure that it melts and get spread throughout
  • Add spinach in three parts,  allow about 1 minute before each addition
  • Mix in basil
  • Allow ingredients to cook for at least another 15-20 minutes on moderate heat
  • Add in cornstarch if mixture is too liquidy (mix first with a few tbsps of cold water prior to mixing in to wok)
  • Mix in cornstarch, and allow mixture to cook for another 5 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle peanuts over finished dish


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