Pork Tofu Fry

Ingredients:
pork – 1/2lb
well pressed and extra firm tofu – 1/2 lb
red onion – 1/4
red pepper – 1/4
cashew halves – handful
shiitake mushrooms – large handful
crushed red peppers – to taste
lack pepper – to taste
soy sauce – 2 tbsp
garlic – 4 cloves crushed
ginger – 1/2 tsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsps
sesame oil – 1 tsp

Process:
Slice red pepper, red onion, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and pork into long strips. Make a marinade of 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 tsp ginger and a little freshly ground black pepper and crusher red pepper.  Toss tofu in marinade and let marinate for 15 or so minutes. Heat olive oil in a pan to medium heat and add pork, ginger, and garlic.  When pork is browned – about 2 min – add all the other ingredients and and cook for another 8 minutes.

The end product can be seen in the featured image at the top of this post.

Variations: Sometimes I use scallions instead of red onions, or cremini rather than shiitake mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms are cheaper than shiitake so if cost is a factor than that is the way to go. Note that you can substitute pork for the tofu for an all pork dish, or the other way around to make it work for vegetarians, though with the latter you may need to add other stuff to give the dish enough flavor. Plain tofu is often described as bland though it has a subtle flavor of its own, so if you are making the vegetarian dish take this into account.

 

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The Hot Pot – A Quick and Healthy Warming Supper for a Busy Weeknight

Hot Pot or Steamboat refers to East Asian stews composed of thinly sliced meats, leaf veggies, tofu, mushrooms… A perfect warming dish for winter, as well as the chilly nights of Spring that are still upon us.  Traditionally the hot pot dish is prepared by having a metal pot of liquid simmering on the table to which fresh ingredients are tossed in. The dish is cooked right at the table.  In more recent times “hot pot” has become a term synonymous with East Asian style stews and soups, and does not necessarily mean it is prepared right at the meal table.  Here’s one hot pot dish that I like and make: Pork and Tofu Hot Pot.

Pork and Tofu Hot Pot

Ingredients:
shiitake mushrooms  – 1 cup
white miso paste – 1 tbsp
well pressed extra firm tofu – 1/2 lb
white vinegar – 1 tbsp
green onions (scallions) – 3
pork – 1/2 lb
freshly ground black pepper – 1/4tsp
ginger – 1/4 tsp
garlic – couple cloves minced
paprika – 1/4 tsp
cayenne pepper – 1/4 tsp
water – 2 cups
coconut oil – 2 tbsp
bok choy – 5 leaves

Process:
Thinly slice shiitake mushrooms, and make small cubes of pork and tofu, roll up bok choy and slice..Cut scallions keeping white bulbs and green stalk separate. To oil on medium high heat add the pork, mushrooms, scallion white bulbs, minced garlic, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, bok choy, and black pepper.  Stir frequently until pork is browned – about 2 minutes.
Add fried ingredients to simmering miso soup (2 cups water and miso paste). Simmer until pork is tender – 15 minutes or so. Add vinegar and green scallion tops, stir and you are ready to serve.  I enjoy having this over noodles or rice.  Alternatively you could use the scallion tops as a garnish, adding to the final serving bowls.

Check out this post’s featured image for what the end product looks like before being added to noodles or rice.

Couple notes on mixing it up, experimentation:  There are many ways this dish can be changed up.  If you thinly slice the pork like you do for hot pots the cooking time could be reduced.  You can add more black pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper for something that is more pungent. Add more/less vinegar depending on how much of a sour/pungent combo you want. Adding soy sauce and sesame oil will give the end dish a completely different flavor profile and final appearance/presentation.
You can make the hot pot vegetarian by substituting tofu for pork.  If you do this you might need to add additional flavor as tofu is a quite mild/almost tasteless ingredient.  This can be added through using veggies like carrots, sweet peppers, more shitake mushrooms..in addition to sauces, or marinating the tofu in advance.
If cost is ever a factor you can also substitute cremini for shiitake mushroom as both are meaty.