A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thai Pork and Tofu Stir Fry

My stir frying is getting better, bit by bit. Again I used the largest skillet we have instead of the wok because of our stupid smooth-topped stove. The skillet allows for much more surface contact with the stove. However, the skillet is well-seasoned, but not as perfectly as the wok, so unfortunately I think I use more oil with it than I would with a wok. The larger base makes for more oil, too. But it's still a better option for getting a hot, hot pan and maneuvering it on and off the heat.

This was not a super-official recipe, just a combination of a Mai Pham recipe and things from a few other Thai cookbooks.

I marinated some pork chunks in lime juice, fish sauce, and lime zest. I used rib meat but removed most of the fat.

I sliced the tofu, sprayed it with olive oil cooking spray, and baked the pieces at 400 for about 15 minutes, then sprinkled it with a little shoyu. I could have stir-fried it, too, but I wanted that toasty dryness it gets from being baked -- I thought that would soak up the stir-fry flavors better.

I heated peanut oil until it smoked and stir-fried the pork, then removed it.

I then stir-fried a Vidalia onion cut into rings, several Thai and one Japanese eggplant from the garden, assorted fresh red garden chiles of varying degrees of heat, one clove of garlic, and about 1/2 cup of Thai basil. (I prepped all this beforehand, of course.)

I added half a standard package of rice noodles, which had been soaking in hot water for half an hour before I drained them and gave them a minute or two to dry. Those noodles really, really wanted to stick to the skillet, but I added a little more oil and stirred well. Not letting up here was important: those noodles have to be chewy, chewy, chewy or there's no point in stir-frying rice noodles.

Toward the end I added the pork and tofu, poured in a sauce made of fish sauce, shoyu, and sugar, and tossed in another 1/2 cup of Thai basil. Because it wasn't picante enough, I added some dried red pepper flakes, too.

It was delicious, but it can be much better. I'll keep working.

1 comment:

Kris said...

I can't post in any constructive fashion because Dad has the camera, and I'm taking a cooking vacation while he's away!

I read in British murder mysteries about "fry-ups"--this seems to be something detectives cook when their wives are away, or else they're newly single because of various defects that have led them to become detectives in the first place. I believe it starts with bacon or ham and then proceeds on to potatoes, onions, eggs, and the like. I think I had better research this. The whole concept has probably devolved into "skillets" at The Village Inn.

But I digress. Your fry-up sounds excellent. I've been timid about stir-frying things, partly because it's not my style to get everything ready and then cook at the last minute. I probably would improve with practice.