Monday, January 25, 2016

Clay Pot Tofu

I saw my Clay Pot sitting on a shelf and decided it needed to be used so I made what it basically a Tofu Stew with it.  What's interesting about Clay Pots is that they are often used at the end of a cooking process so that the different ingredients are stir fried briefly then added together to finish inside the clay pot.  There is something quite wonderful about cooking in these vessels as they gently braise and I think it is a particularly good way to cook something delicate, like tofu.  This is a recipe that my Mother used to make and at the time, I wasn't conscious that it was Vegetarian. The Shitake Mushrooms take the place of meat and there is plenty of protein with the tofu. The Tofu gets infused with the sauce and it is so delicious over rice. Of course, you don't have to use a Clay Pot, you can finish this dish in a wok or frying pan. But Clay Pots are wonderful and I always feel like I am getting a present when I open it up to dish up what's inside!

Clay Pot Tofu

1 package Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch wide by 1/2 inch pieces and patted dry
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Carrot, trimmed, peeled and cut on the diagonal into thin slices
1 Leek, white part only, cut into 1 inch shreds
4 Green Onions, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (slice in half if thick)
1/4 of a small Red Onion, sliced into thin 1 inch shreds
4 slices of Ginger, peeled (about the size of a quarter)
8 dried Shitake Mushrooms rehydrated in hot water for 20 minutes, stem removed and cut into quarters
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth (you can also use Chicken Broth)
3 Tablespoons Tamari
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon toasted Sesame Oil
1  Tablespoon Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons Water

Place the Clay Pot on the stove and add the Sauce Ingredients (Vegetable Broth, Tamari, Rice Wine and Sugar) and heat on low.  In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the Tofu. Cook first on one side until brown and then turn over to brown the other side. Remove the tofu and add to the Clay Pot.  Then add the Carrot, Leek, Green Onions, Red Onion and Mushrooms to the pan. Saute for a few minutes or until you can smell the fragrance and the Onion is translucent. Put into the Clay Pot and stir gently to mix ingredients. Turn the heat to Medium High and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove lid and add Cornstarch Mixture, turning heat up until the mixture comes to a boil again. Cook until the Cornstarch is incorporated and the sauce is glazed - about 30 seconds. Serve with Rice

Five Element Analysis

This method of Cooking is considered part of the Earth Element and the Carrots add an Earth ingredient along with the Ginger, which is also partially the Metal Element. The Tofu and the Green Onions, Red Onion and Leeks contribute even more Earth.  The Tamari and Sesame Oil bring in the Water Element  and the Fire Element is represented by the Rice Wine. Only the Wood Element is missing (unless you use Chicken Broth), so be sure to serve this with some green vegetables to create a Five Element balance. 

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