Kung Pao Tofu with Honey-Roasted Peanuts and Asparagus
1 recipe traditional Asian-style “Crisping” marinade for oven-baked tofu
2/3 cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 to 6 dried red chiles
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon peeled, finely chopped ginger
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, tough part of stems snipped off, stems and tips cut on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup water
1 bunch scallions, roots removed, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
1/3 cup honey-roasted peanuts
As the tofu bakes, combine the stock, soy sauce, mirin, honey and cornstarch, smushing the cornstarch into the liquid with your fingertips to make a smooth sauce.
Prepare a mise en place tray, placing the sauce on it, along with all of the remaining ingredients and the baked tofu, each in its little bowl. Set the tray near the stove. Spray a wok or skillet, with a tight-fitting lid, with cooking spry and set it on the stove.
When ready to finish the dish, place the oil in the prepared wok over high heat. Let it get very, very hot – it will be fragrant and will get a sort of glazed, swirly look on top. Add the chiles and stir-dry 1 minute. The chiles should darken. Working quickly, scoop the chiles out of the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil as possible. Reserve the chiles in their bowl on the tray.
Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until they color slightly, 10 to 20 seconds. They may stick, but ignore that, just keep stirring. Add the asparagus and stir-fry for 10 seconds, then add the water and immediately pop a cover on the dish. Let steam over very high heat until the asparagus is crisp-tender and the water has almonst evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid, and let any remaining water boil off quickly. The minute the last bit of water has evaporated, toss in the scallions and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Give the sauce mixture a vigorous stir to blend the cornstarch and liquid, pour it into the hot wok. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce becomes a clear, very thick glaze, about 30 seconds. Continue stirring for a few more seconds, add the oven-crisped tofu and honey-roasted peanuts. Serve hot, ASAP, preferably over rice.
Per my calculations – per serving – Calories: 339, Total Fat: 13.9g, Sat. Fat: 2.2g, Carbs: 35.9g, Fiber: 5.9g, Protein: 19.1