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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Garlic shoots and steamed tofu

Firstly, happy Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year! I've always liked Chinese New Year, mostly because of the red envelopes that are given out (who doesn't love a bit of extra pocket money?). Now that I live in a different country to my family, I don't get many red envelopes anymore. However, a phone call to my parents revealed that Grandma had given our red envelopes to mum. So there are some traditions that you can always rely on Grandma for!

Garlic shoot and mushroom stir-fy

The last couple of nights I've been cooking some rather Chinese inspired meals. I was doing some random food shopping and came across a bunch of garlic shoots. I first read about garlic shoots in someone's blog (can't remember which one now) so I bought some to try out. Garlic shoots are the young shoots that come off a garlic plant, prior to the bulb maturing. They look similar to spring onions, except that they're not hollow. They have a gentle, sweet, garlic flavour.

The garlic shoots went into a stir fry with shimeji and oyster mushrooms plus some bean sprouts. Yummo.

Steamed tofu with chilli and ginger

We also had some steamed tofu with the stir fry. There are lots of different kinds of tofu available but my favourite is silken firm tofu. It has a wonderful silky texture that shines when it's prepared very simply.

Stir-fried mushrooms and garlic shoots

Stir-fried mushrooms and garlic shoots

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin matchsticks
1 fresh chilli, seeds removed (if desired) and sliced thinly
½ bunch garlic shoots, roughly chopped into 3cm lengths
150 g shimeji mushrooms, separated or cut into small clumps
150 g oyster mushrooms
150 g bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Salt and sugar

(I know that generally mushrooms don't need to be washed, but I think there are some kinds that do need a rinse. I don't know if shimeji and oyster mushrooms need it but I gave them a quick dunking anyway.)

Add the oil to a wok on high heat. When the oil is hot, throw in the chilli and ginger and swish around for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic shoots and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, until they start to become tender and brown in spots. Keep the garlic shoots moving.

Add the shimeji and oyster mushrooms as well as the bean sprouts and stir-fry for another minute. Add the oyster sauce and mix well to coat all the vegetables. Taste before deciding whether you need to add more salt and perhaps a touch of sugar (I added about ½ teaspoon of each). Serve with rice.

Steamed tofu with chilli and ginger

Steamed silken tofu with ginger and chilli

1 block silken firm tofu
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin matchsticks
1 fresh chilli, seeds removed (if desired) and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Carefully pop the block of tofu out of its container and on to a heatproof plate/bowl.
Bring a wok or saucepan of water to the boil. Put the plate of tofu in a bamboo steamer.
Place the sliced chilli and ginger on top and pour over the soy sauce and peanut oil.
Place a lid on the bamboo steamer and steam the tofu over boiling water for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the hot plate from the steamer and serve immediately.

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