This is the second part of instructions for making a crazy-large amount of faux-healthy stir fry. I used a base of rice noodles, but the rice of your choice will work equally well so long as you have enough time to cook it.
Warning: don’t read if your worst moments in college consisted of reading a classmate’s paper that just-would-not-keep-tenses-straight. At this point I’m ready for bed and not sure who is cooking what when! Do read on if you are only interested in how.
Drain the beans after soaking overnight. If using soybeans you may want to allow them a few days to sprout. Simply rinse twice a day and let sprout, preferably away from the sun. Don’t worry about all the anti-sprout stories. As long as there is no visible mold, you are more than fine. We are going to cook away any little evils right along with the enzymes!
Since I used Great Northern beans I only let them “sprout” for a day after draining. Not sure how they got their name, but Great Northern beans are *not* great for retaining crunch once sprouted and cooked a little. Stopping the sprouting process before the beans have even split helps them hold together.
Once you are really ready for stir fry start with frying onions and garlic. I used two medium onions and a small handful of garlic. Once browned a bit I set aside half of the mixture in a small pot for the peanut sauce. To the remaining onions and garlic I added whatever vegetables happened to be around: in this case about a cup of fresh carrots, a half pound of mushrooms, two green peppers, and a pound of frozen vegetable mixture with the auspicious title “oriental”. I wonder who gets to decide that broccoli, carrots and peppers are suddenly “oriental” when a little baby corn and water chestnuts have been tossed in?
Toss about 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup soy sauce into the pot along with your beans and this is what you get.
But wait! We’re far from done. While the beans softened just a bit I made a tofu topping. Cut a block of extra firm tofu into smaller chunks. Dip first in beaten egg (it should take two eggs) and then coat with cornstarch mixture (cup of cornstarch, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. black pepper) before frying. I barely cover my frying pan with a bit of canola oil, but it is enough to get a nice brown color.
While the tofu and vegetables are busy with their respective heat in their respective pans I return to the onion and garlic set aside. A cup of water, cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup soy sauce make the world’s easiest peanut sauce. A bit of fresh ginger can be good, but my husband doesn’t care for it, so I left it out. Fresh basil is also delicious at any point, but it is a rare treat. So simple peanut sauce will have to do.
If the tofu is brown it is time to add in the sauce. If you’re starting to think that tofu looks delicious, you must be doing something right.
Make a little mountain of tofu on top of vegetables on top of rice noodles.
If you’re lucky, your dinner partners will be like mine and think that your wonderful little beans taste just like peanuts. And then you can pretend that it is a healthy meal since everyone knows that Great Northern beans are much healthier than peanuts. Right? Right.
Okay, time to be honest. Can you imagine thinking that white beans tasted like peanuts? I don’t actually think that they are entirely convincing, but my not-so-health-enthralled husband loves them. How about you?
- Thai Inspired Stir Fry: Part I
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