I have lamented before my fear of frying. Sadly, it often extends to stir frying, which is lamentable, given that one of my few complaints about my new home is the paucity of Asian food options. Why I won't stir fry is a mystery even to me--it's true that I don't have a wok, and I think that's one of my self-created obstacles. The other, I fear, is all the prepwork that a good stirfry usually entails. Tonight, in my quest to enjoy my beautiful baby bok choy, I threw caution to the wind and opened up the gorgeous (but not oft-used, in my kitchen) Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey through Southeast Asia by culinary world travelers Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford .
I adapted their recipe for Thai Stir Fried Greens with Noodles to reflect what I had on hand, and came up with a delicious, light supper. The original recipe calls for rice noodles, as well as meat (preferably pork) or pressed tofu. Lacking all of those, I made the stir fry anyway, and ate mine atop some brown rice; the H ate his straight, as a thick soup. Either way, delicious.
Thai Bok Choy Stir Fry
3 T neutral (canola, grapeseed) oil
2 T minced garlic
1 lb firm tofu, sliced into half inch by two inch (roughly) batons
4 cups baby bok choy, rinsed, base ends trimmed off
1 T fermented black bean paste
1 T soy sauce
1 T Thai fish sauce
1 t agave nectar
2 T rice vinegar
1 T corn starch, dissolved in 3 T water
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
Cut the bok choy into roughly even pieces by cutting across the entire bok choy to separate the leaf and stem ends into pieces of roughly equal lengths. Then cut the stem pieces into 1/4 inch wide slices (cutting along the length of the slice, not dicing across it.)
Heat the oil in a heavy, deep frying pan (or, ahem, wok) over high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it begins to turn golden brown. Add the tofu, and sear over high heat until it begins to brown.
Add the bok choy and stir until it begins to soften and turn bright green, and is just starting to become tender. Add the black bean paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar and agave, and stir to combine. Add the stock, and then the corn starch. Stir, and cover to raise temperature for a minute or so . Remove the cover and cook until the bok choy is tender to your taste and the sauce has thickened. Serves 2 very generously, or 4 over rice or noodles.