I guarantee you’ll have more difficulty managing your chopsticks than making this dish. But the ease of its execution in no way compromises its taste. The trifecta of quick-fried tofu, sautéed greens and Thai-inspired peanut sauce brings tons of flavor and texture to the plate. For the greens I went bok choy, though Chinese broccoli, tatsoi, napa cabbage, alone or in combination, would work just as well. The tofu is pan-fried, which browns its exterior while the inside stays warm and soft. Binding the dish is a thick peanut sauce, perfumed with tangy notes of soy sauce and lime, and thinned to a creamy consistency with almond milk.
CRISP TOFU AND ASIAN GREENS WITH PEANUT SAUCE
Mechanics: It’s really important that you use firm tofu (soft varieties won’t hold up in the pan), and also that you make sure the tofu is as dry as possible so you can get a nice brown crust when you fry it. It’s best if you let the tofu slices rest between paper towels or dishtowels to absorb the excess water for about 30 minutes before you cook. To finish off the process you can dry-fry the tofu in a nonstick skillet – simply place the slices in a pan over medium heat without any oil and they’ll begin to hiss as the steam is released. Once they brown on one side, flip to the other side. (If you want to get them extra crispy, add a bit of oil the pan and repeat the fry).
Slice firm tofu into strips or cubes and pat dry; roughly chop a bunch of the greens. Pan-fry the tofu in some vegetable oil until it browns on all sides, about four minutes; remove tofu from pan and pour off all but a little of the oil. Add the greens and pinch or two of red chile flakes, and continue cooking until the vegetables turn dark green, about three minutes. Mix together a half cup of peanut butter, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, and fresh lime juice to taste; add a bit of water if necessary to get a nice consistency (I used almond milk for a creamy touch and nutty complement). Add the sauce to the pan along with the reserved tofu and toss to coat. (You may not need to use all of the sauce, depending on how much greens/tofu you have). Garnish with crushed peanuts and serve.