I'm loving our stir fry theme right now. We had extra cilantro, scallions, and limes from our beef stir fry earlier this week, so we decided to try another of Jamie Oliver's stir fry recipes. This time we chose his recipe for chicken chow mein, except we substituted tofu for the chicken.
We decided to use Mark Bittman's recipe for poaching tofu. If you are using firm or extra firm tofu, you don't necessarily have to do this, but we thought it would help keep the tofu from falling apart in the stir fry. Just bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add the whole piece of tofu to the boiling water. Lower the heat so the water bubbles gently. Cook until the tofu floats, about 5-10 minutes, then remove the block with a slotted spoon and allow it to drain on paper towels.
Tofu (or Chicken) Chow Mein
adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution
1 tablespoon ginger, minced or finely sliced (if you use the jarred stuff like me, it is already minced)
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 a fresh red chili, finely sliced
1 large skinless chicken breast fillet, preferably free-range or organic, OR a one pound block of firm tofu, poached as described above if desired.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, finely sliced
Small bunch fresh cilantro
2 baby bok choy, or one larger bok choy
Handful shiitake mushrooms (optional), roughly chopped or left whole
4 ounces (2 bundles) chow mein noodles
Peanut or vegetable oil
1 heaped teaspoon cornstarch
One 8-ounce can water chestnuts, not drained (I could only find a 5-ounce can of sliced water chestnuts)
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 small lime
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water, pick the leaves off the cilantro and set aside, and finely chop the cilantro stalks. Cut the bok choy in half lengthwise and set aside. If using chicken, slice it into 1/2 inch strips and lightly season with salt and pepper. If using tofu, slice into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.
Preheat a large wok or large frying pan over high heat. When good and hot, add a couple tablespoons oil. Add the chicken or tofu pieces and cook for a few minutes, until lightly browned.
Add the noodles and the bok choy to the pot of boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes only, then drain in a colander set over a bowl, to reserve some of the cooking water.
To the tofu (or chicken), add the ginger, garlic, chili, cilantro stalks, mushrooms if using, and half the scallions. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the cornstarch, water chestnuts (including their water). Stir, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Remove from heat. Stir in two tablespoons of soy sauce. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the mixture and stir to combine.
The stir fry, before adding noodles and bok choy (yum!):
Add the noodles and bok choy to the stir fry, adding a little of the cooking water to loosen the noodles if necessary. Taste and season with more soy sauce as needed.
To serve, pile your portion into a bowl or onto a plate, making sure to grab a piece of bok choy or two. Spoon some of the juices over the top, and garnish with some of the reserved scallions, the cilantro leaves, and lime wedges.