Roasted Tofu with Leeks and Black Bean Sauce, plus Stir-Fried Vegetables

It was time for a tofu and stir fry again.  When you are vegan, you actually look forward to one of these meals.  I’ve been wanting to make a recipe I had come across almost a year ago, since it uses fermented black beans — one of my favorite ingredients.  Since Barbara was taking care of our grandsons this afternoon, and I also had some cool ingredients for a stir fry as well, I was happy to give it a try.

Step number one was to mix a small marinade of salt, olive oil and paprika to coat a pound of tofu cubes, cut from a block of Trader Joe’s organic firm tofu.  These were placed on a sheet of parchment paper lining a roasting tray.

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Meanwhile, I did the prep work for the tofu dish and the stir fry:

tofu dish:

  • preheat the oven to 450º F.
  • chop garlic, coarsely chop fermented black beans
  • mix water and arrowroot powder
  • cut a leek into 1″ segments (not 2″ as per recipe)

stir fry:

  • cut 1 sweet potato into 3/4″ dice, toss with olive oil and Chinese five spice powder
  • take out of the refrigerator some interesting leftover ingredients from last night’s pizza; these included sliced zucchini, cremini mushrooms, and shitakes
  • cut into small slices one Asian eggplant
  • wash some new Asian greens from the farmers market, and slice into 1-inch strips; these included baby bok choy and one Japanese green whose name I can’t remember
  • chop up some garlic and a few stalks of lemongrass
  • thinly slice several scallions
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Prepped vegetables

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Fermented black beans

The tofu was then roasted for 30 minutes, turning each piece over once, and set aside.  With my favorite wok over high heat, I cooked the fermented black beans and garlic for less than a minute, added the leeks and browned them, added the water and cooked until leeks were tender.  Adding the arrowroot and water mixture and cooking that down produced a nice thick sauce, to which the roasted tofu cubes were added.

In the meantime I also roasted the sweet potato cubes in the oven.  They took a little less time than the tofu and were also turned once.  The wok was used to stir fry all the vegetables individually, starting with the garlic and lemongrass, then mushrooms, followed by eggplant, zucchini, Asian greens, and scallions — removing each to their bowls before proceeding to the next one.  In the last step I threw all the ingredients of the stir fry into the wok, added a tablespoon of Nama Shoyu (soy sauce) plus some of the arrowroot in water mixture, and cooked a minute or two.  Here is the finished product:

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Two photos for the tofu dish: (1) brown bean sauce and leeks in wok, and (2) final dish.

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The wine might surprise you.  Given the rich flavors of the garlic and fermented black bean sauce and the five spice powder with the sweet potato, I was confident that a dark, rich red wine could work.  Once again, I turned to my recent visit to Social Wines, in this case a 2010 Domaine La Brune from Beaumes de Venise.  This is a dry Grenache (66%) and Syrah (34%) blend from the Rhône Valley.  I had opened the bottle two days before, but decided it did not go with the meal at that time.  When I tried it tonight, I was thrilled with how good it was and how well it matched the meal.

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