Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thai Basil Stir Fry

We grow four different varieties of basil in our garden: Thai, Genovese, Lemon and Purple. I hold a special place in my heart for Thai Basil because it often provides a perfect stand-in for gag-inducing cilantro in most Asian recipes. When there are plenty of purple-hued, licorice-scented plants I love making this stir-fry. The protein and vegetables can certainly be switched out to suit your own tastes.

As with all stir-fries, all the ingredients must be prepped and ready to go before the cooking starts. Also, fair warning, when adding the garlic and pepper to the ripping hot wok make sure that all windows are open since the spicy fumes made me choke/cough/cry like a lunatic.
  • 2 cups of lightly packed Thai Basil Leaves
  • 3 cups chopped mixed vegetables (I used wax beans, green beans, peas, pattypan squash)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 red jalapeno peppers, minced (seeded if you're a wimp)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (not silken)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup roasted salted cashews, coarsely chopped

Cut the tofu lengthwise into 3 slabs and place between a couple sheets of paper towels. Press down, blotting as much water off as possible. Cube the tofu into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Set aside.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok over high heat and add the tofu. Stir frequently until the tofu is golden on all sides. Remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Add the additional tablespoon of oil and then add the garlic and pepper, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add the tofu back to the wok and stir for a minute. Turn the heat down to medium and pour the reserved sauce into the wok. Stir frequently for another minute. Add the thai basil leaves and stir until wilted.

Serve the stir-fry over steamed jasmine rice with the cashews sprinkled over the top.

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