The pervasive dhaniya – or cilantro to the Americans – manifests in the daily square Indian meal rather tirelessly – chopped and sprinkled on sabzis and dals, chaats and curries just before serving, or ground up in gingery, coconutty, oniony bases in a tall order of chutneys. Being ones to experiment with textures and tastes, we’ve taken it across cuisines and cast it right into our Green Chutney Pesto, and didn’t want to stop there. In trying to hash up some ideas, we did an accountable amount of research on herbs in kitchens around the world and figured, what better way to employ this much-favored Chinese parsley than in, well, a Chinese-inspired dish? The result, as you can tell, was unique and in a class of its own, with the herby undertone being stark enough to keep pace with the potency of the vinegary, sauced up flavors. The pervasive ol’ coriander, had thus transcended borders, and cruised beyond curries..
Stir-fried Tofu and Veggies in Asian Coriander Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil, divided (Sub peanut oil, not toasted sesame oil)
- ½ Cup firm tofu, pressed and then cut into slices
- 1 Heaped teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 Heaped teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 Thai/hot green chillies minced, or to taste
- 1 Spring onion, greens and white parts chopped separately
- 8-10 Baby corn, sliced into chunks diagonally
- ½ Red bell pepper/capsicum, cut into squares
- 1 Small carrot, thinly sliced on the bias, blanched if desired
- Salt to taste
- ¼ Teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 Teaspoon honey
- 1 Teaspoon cornflour stirred smooth with 2 tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar
- ½ Teaspoon dark soy sauce
Process the following in a food processor with a quarter cup of water –
- 1 Small bunch coriander/cilantro, washed and trimmed
- 1 Spring onion, green part only (you can add the white part to the stir-fry)
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan set on medium heat, add the tofu slices and brown them slightly on both sides. Remove and set aside.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large wok, toss in the garlic, ginger, chillies and spring onion whites. Stir continuously for about a minute. Add the baby corn, peppers and carrot slices. Stir-fry on high heat till the veggies are done. Add the processed coriander paste along with salt, pepper and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and stir in the cornflour slurry. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Pour in the vinegar and soy sauce. Mix well and take off the heat.
Garnish with the spring onion greens and serve over steamed rice or stir-fried noodles.
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