Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sticky Sesame Stir-Fry

Stir frying is definitely one of my favourite methods to get dinner on the table. After all, the essential definition of the method is quickly cooking a medley of items over super-high heat - guaranteeing dinner in minutes once your food is sliced and ready to go. In particular, I love adding a few key "bland" items to the pan along with my boatload of veggies. Tofu and noodles or rice soak up sauces and marinades, acting like little flavour bombs hidden in each bowl. The texture they provide is equally addictive - soft and chewy, up against the crisp-tender snow peas and broccoli I tend to throw in.

Sticky Sesame Stir-Fry

Of course, while I love my veggies as much as the day is long, when it comes to cooking with kids (and even some adults), anything "green" is suspect, and without doubt is the first thing shoved to the side. With a stir fry, especially a saucy one, that gets a bit difficult to do, but even I was amazed at how much of this my lower elementary kids ate during Home Economics! Since I was cooking with fairly young ones, my first thought was to lean on the sweeter side of things to win the kids' palates. With the base note established with brown sugar, pineapple juice and hoisin, I balanced it all with savoury soy, tangy vinegar and just a touch of hot sauce for zip. A flash in the pan and some no-cook rice vermicelli later, I served up small helpings at first, which blossomed into full-meal second rounds. Even though it was about 10:30 in the morning, I blame the freezing, dreary weather for ampliyfing the hearty appetites, but credit the savoury aroma and colours for instigating them!

The afternoon and day after running this class, I was having parents chase me for the recipe because their kids were so gung-ho about making it again they were begging to try it at home. I figure that's a pretty ringing endorsement in itself - at least five 6-7 year olds clamouring for tofu and veggies? Guess you can't go wrong with a sweet and tangy gluten free and vegan stir fry!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays #230 

Sticky Sesame Stir-Fry
Serves 4, generously
⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used San J)
⅓ cup pineapple juice
½ tbsp. toasted sesame oil
4 cloves minced garlic (about 1 ½ tbsp)
3 tbsp hoisin sauce (Wok Mei is GF and vegan)
2 tbsp ginger
1 tsp hot sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp canola oil
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
300g Asian style stir fry vegetable mix (or make your own, I used Arctic Gardens)
1 (8 oz) can shredded bamboo shoots
2 cups cooked rice vermicelli or cellophane noodles
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 green onions, minced
  1. Combine the first seven ingredients (soy sauce through vinegar) in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large skillet or wok coated with cooking spray over high heat.
  3. Add the tofu and stir-fry until browned on all sides.
  4. Add the vegetables, bamboo shoots, vermicelli and sauce to the pan.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened; about 7 to 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame seeds and green onions

* If the sauce isn't thick enough for you, add 1 tsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 406.3
Total Fat: 14.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 929.4 mg
Total Carbs: 59.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.3 g
Protein: 14.1 g