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Spicy Tofu Stir-Fry with Kale

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Tonight is the second time I’ve made this recipe, and it gets easier every time. It’s actually a pretty easy recipe to follow, as long as you prep all your ingredients ahead of time and keep an eye on the timer. I originally got this recipe from the New York Times, but I made a few slight changes.

  • 14 oz firm tofu
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely chopped with seeds removed
  • 6 Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 scallions, chopped with white and green part
  • 1 TB ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB dry sherry
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 TB grape seed oil
  • 1 TB dark sesame oil

The key to stir fry is to have all your ingredients put together in small dishes, within arms reach of your wok (or large non-stick pan if you’re wokless). Also if you plan on cooking rice with this dish, make sure to start the rice before beginning any other part of the dish, as rice takes about 30 minutes to cook. I have a 3-cup rice cooker, which I don’t think I could live without.

Slice the tofu into dominos and place them on a paper towel to drain the moisture. Put another paper towel sheet on top and set aside until ready to use.

Boil a large pot of water (you will use this to blanche the kale). Meanwhile, combine the sugar, salt and white pepper into a small dish and set aside. Combine the sliced pepper, mushrooms and scallions into another larger bowl and set aside. Whisk together the soy sauce, dry sherry, cornstarch and broth in a small dish and set aside.

Use a mini or regular size food processor to chop the garlic and ginger (with skin trimmed) and combine into another small dish. To chop the Serrano pepper, slice is down the middle and remove all the seeds with the tip of your knife. Be careful not to touch the seeds as they will make your nail beds sting! And be especially careful not to touch your eyes or nose after handling the pepper. Trust me. Once you have removed the seeds, cut into thinner strips and dice, then add to the bowl with the ginger and garlic.

Now that all your ingredients are prepared, you’re ready to cook! Once the water has boiled, add the kale (ends trimmed) and blanche for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of cold water for one minute. Remove from the bowl and squeeze out the excess water. Chop the kale coarsely and place within arms reach of the stove.

Place your wok or large pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot (splash a drop of water on it and if it evaporates right away, then it’s hot enough) add the grape seed oil. If you don’t have grape seed oil you can use peanut oil, canola oil or anything that works with a high heat (not olive oil). Swirl the oil around the pan and add the tofu. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until it’s browned on both sides.

Add the dish of ginger, garlic and Serrano and stir-fry for no more than 10 seconds. Add the red pepper, mushrooms and scallions and stir-fry for about a minute. Add the kale to the pan with the dish of salt, pepper and sugar and stir to combine for a few seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture and the sesame oil and stir-fry for about a minute. Remove the pan from heat. By now your rice should be done so you can toss that into the stir-fry.

This dish goes great with a a dry white wine, such as Viogner. I would recommend Trefethen’s Viogner, which I happened to receive in my club shipment today. The aromatic and fruit forward nature of the Viogner makes a perfect match with the spiciness in the stir-fry – and believe me, it’s spicy! If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, you can leave out the Serrano pepper. If that’s the case, I would pair this with a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc.

About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

2 responses »

  1. Wow, this looks delicious! I am going to have to try it – just won’t tell a certain family member about the tofu.

  2. He probably won’t even notice it! If he asked, tell him it’s a root vegetable 🙂


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