Spicy Basil Stir-Fry

>> Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We got another load of basil in this week's CSA basket. Last week, we made a nice batch of Vegan Walnut Basil Pesto. This week, I wanted to do something different. One of Stephen's favorite Thai dishes is Spicy Basil with tofu.

Recreating this restaurant favorite was fun -- and perfect for what we had in the fridge. Don't be alarmed with all the ingredients you see listed. Many of them are just a dash of this and that required to make the sauce. If you don't have something, don't fret.


What you'll need . . . for the stir-fry

  • 1 cake of tofu, extra firm -- drained well
  • 4 cups (loose) napa cabbage, sliced 
  • 1 white onion, sliced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
  • 1 large yellow squash, sliced thickly 
  • 1 cup red and green peppers, chopped 
  • Scant tablespoon chili oil 
  • Scant tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
. . . for the basil sauce

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

Method . . . 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. When your tofu is well drained (here's how), cut into triangles or squares and then fry on all sides until golden. Set aside.
  3. Place all veggies on a rimmed baking sheet and top with the oils, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Roast for 15 minutes. Then stir. Repeat twice, until golden and caramelized.
  4. Heat a large, deep pan over medium-high heat on your stove-top. Heat all the basil sauce ingredients together -- EXCEPT the basil. Then toss in your veggies and tofu. Stir a few times, cooking maybe five minutes total.
  5. Then turn off the heat and sprinkle in the basil. Let sit for a few minutes until basil wilts.
  6. Serve immediately with brown rice.

Stephen always eats his stir-fries with chopsticks. Actually, he uses chopsticks for most any meal you can think of. I shovel mine in with a fork. (What do you do?) However you eat it, though. This is a dish you'll want to make over and over again.

A couple notes: If you don't have sesame oil, use another Asian-y flavored oil, like peanut, perhaps. If you don't have chili oil, use a teaspoon or so more red pepper flakes. No white vinegar? Apple cider vinegar will do the trick. Or maybe more lemon juice instead. And feel free to play around with which veggies you use.

Basically, this recipe isn't pretending to be authentic. At all. I tweaked it as we were making it to see what tasted most like what we've had out.

While we ate our dinner, Ada noshed on some pureed green beans and soft brown rice. She laughed as she ate it, too! PS: If you'd like to check out photos from our 4-day music festival camping adventure, I just posted 'em on Writing Chapter Three!

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