Saturday, October 15, 2011

MoFo Mystery Picture the Fifteenth + Kung pao tofu

So pretty, for something most of us just compost...

What I had for supper yesterday was so pretty too, I thought I'd post pictures, though without a recipe.  This is the Kung pao tofu from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Authentic Chinese Cuisine.  I couldn't find the recipe online and since Bryanna is so very generous with giving away recipes for free, let's let this post stand as a tribute to my stained, crumpled, warped, and dog-eared copy of Authentic Chinese Cuisine.  Bryanna's books are so packed with information they're fun to just read, until you get too's the method.  For the recipe, you'll have to buy the book, or adapt one of the many Kung pao tofu or Kung pao chicken recipes online. 

Once you have everything ready (and for these Chinese stir fry dishes, you must have everything ready ahead of time), the dish itself takes just a few minutes to put together.

Start by putting some cashews on to toast.  I just use medium-low heat and let them brown slowly while everything else is cooking:

Now cut up some firm or extra-firm tofu into long thin pieces and stir it up with a mixture of cornstarch and a little soy sauce (this, to me, is the genius part of this recipe):

The mise-en-place for the vegetable additions (I doubled the vegetable amounts):

Now in a wok or skillet, heat up a little oil and, when it's all hot, add the tofu mixture, and stir fry until golden.  This goes fast, two minutes or so.  There really is just a teaspoon of oil in this; it's the cornstarch that makes it all crispy and glistening:

Add the vegetables, and stir fry on medium-high heat for a very few minutes more:

The vegetables should be crisp-tender, but showing little brown/black bits.  Now add the cooking sauce, and stir fry for another minute until the sauce turns translucent:

Sprinkle on, or stir in, the chopped roasted cashews, and serve immediately.  I had it with another quick stir fry of long beans, shimeji mushrooms, garlic, chili, and sesame oil:

...and millet, since to me these dishes seemed to cry out for it:

So tasty!

And now, the key to yesterday's mystery picture, which one person finally guessed, near the end.  Click for a closeup on the center part and you'll see what I did:


  1. i'm looking forward to these now every morning!

    it looks a bit like the exterior webbing on sections of orange.

    my husband wondered if it might be the rindy bits on baked winter squash...neither of these seem to fit the hint, though.

    thanks for this great mofo theme. It's fun!! fantastic pictures. :-)

  2. WOAH! That looks amazing, I could eat that right now. Can't believe that was a red onion yesterday, so cool :-)
    I thought todays close up was pumpkin until I read your caption.....pumkin innards maybe???

  3. I am going with pumpkin seeds.

  4. Now I'm cheating, but I think it's squash seeds too.
    I love the Authentic Chinese Cuisine cookbook too. Definitely one of my faves. Thanks for reminding me about it! I may have to make something like this for dinner.

  5. I cooked from Authentic Chinese Cuisine last night too. It is my favorite cookbook...the only one I ever really use to cook from. Your Kung Pao tofu really is stunning! And everything I've tried from the book is delicious, so we know it tasted great...I mean it would have anyway, cuz all your food looks like deliciousness on a plate.

    Wow, a red onion! Very clever, I never would have guessed. It's almost a relief to see the entire shot.

    I'm going with Stacy and Katee on today's pic.

  6. Kung Pao Tofu is my favorite Chinese dish. Never would've thought to try making it myself.

  7. I'm terrible with your photos - I haven't been guessing because I can't get any of them! I did know the one above was a squash, though. At least I got that much.

    Like everyone else, I love Authentic Chinese Cuisine. I don't know why, but I wouldn't have thought to pair these dishes with millet, which is too bad because I'm always wanting to do things with millet and always overlooking it. It LOOKS so nice on your plate, it must belong there.

  8. your stir-fries are always so beautiful they make me hungry after I've already eaten.