Photo credit April Harris
Celebrated by billions of people all around the world, today is the most important of all Chinese holidays, the Chinese New Year. I have fond memories of watching the wonderful New Year parades from Macy’s seventh floor window over looking Union Square in San Francisco. The colour and joyful noise of the celebrations echo through the streets and it really is a sight like nothing I had ever seen before.
The Chinese calendar is based on a complex calendar system that uses both lunar and solar cycles. This means Chinese New Year falls on different dates every year, sometime between January 21 and February 21 of the Gregorian calendar. Each year is associated with one of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac. It’s the Year of the Dragon this time. I don’t follow horoscopes, but it’s fun to find out what animal you are. (I’m a snake, my husband is a horse and our son is a rooster.)
When we are at home, I like to make some sort of a stir fry dish for dinner on Chinese New Year. As it’s also Meatless Monday today, I am going to re-post a recipe that was very well received by readers back in 2010. I have to confess I’m not a huge fan of tofu, but I like it in this stir fry. Of course you can always leave out the tofu and just use vegetables. That is the beauty of stir fry, you can use so many different vegetables you really won’t miss the meat, whether you use tofu or not. Another way to mimic the texture of meat is to include mushrooms in your stir fry.
Hoisin sauce is a thick, tangy sauce made with soy beans, garlic, chillies and spices so it is perfect for Meatless Monday. I buy it ready-made from my local grocery store because having priced up the ingredients, some of which can be prepared sauces anyway, it’s a more frugal choice. Be sure to check the ingredients to ensure that your brand is vegetarian, but I’ve yet to find one that isn’t and I have tried quite a few!
You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. If you want to make this extra-healthy, choose brown rice for its extra vitamins, minerals and fibre. Of course, you could also serve this on a bed of noodles if you prefer.
Tofu Stir Fry with Hoisin Sauce for Chinese New Year on Meatless Monday!
Monday, 23 January 2012
Tofu Stir Fry with Hoisin Sauce
Serves 4 generously
2 cups rice
about 1 cup ready to use Tofu or 1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons oil, sesame if possible
a couple handfuls of green beans, topped, tailed and cut in one to two inch pieces (or substitute a sliced green pepper or some asparagus)
1 yellow or red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
half a small cabbage, shredded
½ cup Hoisin sauce
one bunch of scallions (spring onions), finely chopped
Prepare the rice according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium to high heat. Stir fry the beans, pepper and carrots for a few minutes, stirring pretty much constantly so they cook evenly. Toss in the tofu and cabbage and continue to stir fry for about three to four minutes, then stir in the Hoisin sauce and scallions and cook for a couple minutes more.
Drain the rice and divide between four plates. Serve the stir fry on top of the rice.