Chinese Tofu with Cilantro

Cilantro, also known as coriander and Chinese parsley, is essential to authentic Chinese cuisine. Our stir-fry recipe for a fast vegetarian entree is in the style of Taiwanese cooking. It's mildly spicy but feel free to add more of each type of chile to satiate your need for heat. Serve with rice and a salad or veggie side dish for a meal in mere minutes.

Begin with a 12oz - 1 lb. package of firm or extra-firm tofu. Go for the latter if given a choice. Drain the tofu and wrap in a dish or paper towel. Press gently to extract as much liquid as possible without crushing the delicate bean curd. Now cut the tofu into cubes about 3/4" in size.

Set aside the tofu and in a small bowl, mix 1 t. cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine well.

Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium heat. When the oil is hot add in 1/2 small green bell pepper (cut into thin slices), 2-4 dried red chiles (whole), 1-4 sliced hot green chilies and 1/2 salt. Stir fry for a minute then add the tofu. Stir once and reduce heat to low.

Drizzle 2 T. tamari or soy sauce over the tofu. Re-stir the cornstarch mixture quickly and add to the skillet. Drop in 1 cup finely chopped cilantro. Raise the heat just a bit and stir gently to incorporate all ingredients. The sauce should thicken and when it does remove the pan from heat. Add more salt if needed and ground black pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Our recipe for Chinese Tofu with Cilantro utilizes three types of peppers - green bell, fresh hot green chilies and whole dried red chili peppers. The creaminess of the tofu absorbs much of the heat but if you prefer a milder flavor, reduce amount of chilies used and seed and de-vein before adding to the skillet.

After the skillet contents are drizzled with tamari or soy sauce the dish is almost finished.

A heaping pile of minced cilantro is required as the herb's flavor diminishes when cooked even briefly.

A slurry of cornstarch and water thickens and binds the sauce. Use the extra "gravy"  to spoon over your rice or noodles.


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