Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thai Roasted Red Pepper Stir-Fry

Things are a little off kilter right now and I haven't had time to work on the posts that are in the works and I don't want to rush them.

Instead of doing nothing, I thought I would re-post this recipe for Thai Roasted Red Pepper Stir-Fry that I wrote on this day three years ago. Yes, I have been blogging that long. Longer, actually.

Originally posted 4/8/2007

This weekend I went up to Bob's neighborhood for our Saturday morning walk. We started at the Morse Street El Stop, and after walking a block east for coffee at Ennui, we headed west so he could show me some of West Rogers Park. It's a beautiful neighborhood and they have a lovely park with its own zoo. Of course, none of the animals were out because it was so freakin' cold. It was about 22 degrees with a wind chill of 9. Happy spring, everyone.

But even in the cold it was a lovely walk because the neighborhood is so nice. I've never been further west of Clark street that far north. Nice big tree-lined streets, very quiet, gorgeous houses - a mix of bungalows, apartment buildings and older houses. I only saw one new development, compared to the one or two a week that seem to be popping up all over my neighborhood. I think Bob is trying to talk me into moving up there and I have to admit, it's an attractive prospect.

After breakfast at the Heartland, a restaurant that takes me back to Austin in the '70s with it's wide selection of political magazines, natural products, hand-crafted jewelry and Che t-shirts, we went to the Morse Fresh Market, a neighborhood grocery store that has a nice selection for a small store, especially the produce. The produce section easily took up a third of the store, with items I rarely see at my neighborhood Jewel. Yuca, papaya, jicama, epazote, and those teeny little eggplants in the picture above. I couldn't resist bringing some of those home with me. The orange pepper in the background should give you some idea of the scale. These are about the size of a plum they're so tiny.

They were called Indian eggplants and I toyed with the idea of cooking them up with some garam masala and Madras curry powder, but I opted to stir fry them instead. I've had the Thai Roasted Red Chili Paste since my birthday last year and have been wanting to use it, and it's been a while since I've had tofu.
I wasn't sure how spicy the Roasted Red Chili Paste would be, so I only used a teaspoon. It gave the sauce a little kick, but next time I will use more. I used soy sauce because I don't have fish sauce, but I think I will hunt that down for the next time. All in all, it was a satisfying meal for a colder than usual spring dinner.

Thai Roasted Red Pepper Stir-Fry

Serves 4

2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
4-5 baby eggplants, sliced into fourths lengthwise
1/2 lb. extra-firm tofu, with the water pressed out*
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock

Combine cornstarch, sugar, sherry, fish sauce and chicken and mix well. Set aside.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, then add eggplant and cook for 2-3 minutes, until beginning to look tender (it's important to make sure the eggplant is cooked enough before adding the other vegetables). Add onion, pepper, and asparagus and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add tofu and cook until heated through.

Add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Adapted from a recipe for Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Curried Tofu in 12 Best Foods Cookbook, by Dana Jacobi (Rodale Press, 2005)

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