Gong Bao Tofu

I found this recipe for Gong Bao Chicken on Serious Eats and I decided to do a vegan version of this by using tofu instead of chicken. It was pretty simply and it came out very tasty. For added spiciness, serve with some garlic chili paste toss in. Soooo good!

Ingredients

1/3 cup unsalted peanuts
1 12 oz extra firm tofu, drained and roughly torn apart into chunky pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons unroasted peanut oil or other neutral oil
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
1-inch knob ginger root, peeled and very thinly sliced
4 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
Cooked brown rice, for serving

Combine the tofu, corn starch, and half the soy sauce in a small bowl. Toss the tofu until it’s well-coated in the mixture, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large, dry skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the peanuts and cook, gently tossing occasionally, until they’re golden brown and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Heat the oil in the skillet or wok over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tofu,  Sichuan peppercorns, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring continuously, until the tofu turns a light brown in color.

Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and peanuts. Continue cooking until the tofu is golden dark brown.

Remove from the heat, pour the remaining soy sauce over the tofu, and serve immediately with rice.

Cucumber Salad

After the first time I made this, I almost ate the whole batch in one sitting. It’s so easy to make and I had all the ingredients in my pantry except for the cucumbers, which I picked up at a Japanese market in Little Toyko. I made this a second time using regular cucumbers and it was just as tasty.
This can be served as an appetizer before serving sushi or another Japanese dish. Or you can do what I did and have it as a snack.
Ingredients

2 cups thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

If Japanese cucumbers are not available, English cucumbers can be substituted. The English cucumbers need to be peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded and sliced into thin half moons. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers and salt and mix well. Add sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and mix. Let marinate for 20 minutes before serving.

Reference
Cucumber Salad