Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dong Gu Dau-Fu Pan (or Shiitake and Tofu Stir-Fry)

Welcome to Veg-uary (explained here)! I admit to having a certain amount of trepidation eschewing meat (and especially fish) for the next 28 days, but I remain excited and committed to expanding my culinary (anti-) skills. Plus, as the oldest spawn has decided she wants to follow a vegetarian diet, I have a certain amount of obligation to accommodate her nutritive wishes. I will be documenting here our vegetarian exploits, so expect lots of food porn over the next four weeks!

This is the last week for the Door to Door Organics contest, so for my first recipe of Veg-uary I've butchered another one of their recipes. Their "omnivore" option this week is Moo Goo Gai Pan, an Americanized version of a Cantonese stir-fry. I've transformed it into a vegetarian/vegan friendly meal by switching the "gai" (chicken) for "dau-fu" (tofu), and using augmented vegetable stock instead of the poultry-based counterpart. Shiitake mushrooms were on sale, so I went that route instead of the typical button mushrooms.

I'm no Cantonese linguist, but as far as I can determine through limited Google research, here is the break-down of the vocabulary used in the title of this dish:
  • Mu Gu = button mushrooms, which I opted to switch with shiitake mushrooms (dong gu).
  • Gai = Chicken, which I've substituted in favor of tofu (dau-fu).
  • Pan = Slices (well, at least I left one part unadulterated!).

  • You can visit the link above for the original recipe (which inexplicably neglects to tell when to add the mushrooms....weird). My version is below.

    Dong Gu Dau-Fu Pan

    1 12oz block of firm tofu, drained and pressed
    3 tbs peanut oil
    salt and pepper
    1/2 yellow onion, chopped
    1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    1 lb (about 2 cups) baby bok choy, sliced
    1 c vegetable stock*
    1 tsp arrowroot powder
    2 tablespoons nama shoyu or tamari, if desired (I used this in favor of additional salt)
    4 c prepared rice or oriental noodles, as desired

    Preheat oven to 375F. Slice the pressed tofu into strips about 1/2" thick. Using about a teaspoon of the oil, coat the tofum sprinkle with salt, and place on a baking sheet. Flipping halfway
    through, bake for 30 minutes (or until tofu is golden).

    Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat in a large wok. Add onions and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and sauté another 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add bok choy, and stir-fry an additional 5 minutes.

    Combine arrowroot with 2 tablespoons of the broth and set aside. Pour the remaining broth into the wok and bring to a boil. Add the tofu and reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes, then stir in the arrowroot mixture. Allow sauce to thicken over medium-low heat, adding nama shoyu (if desired) and adjusting seasoning to taste. Serve over prepared rice or noodles of choice. As you can see in the photos, we had ours with noodles. Makes 4 2-cup servings.

    *Regarding the vegetable stock: To impart more umami flavor to the stock, I simmered the mushroom stems, onion peel, a few peppercorns, and one whole allspice berry in the broth for about 20 minutes, then strained the broth before using. This extra step isn't necessary, but it's an easy way to kick up the mushroom flavor of the finished dish.

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