Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spicy Tofu and Zucchini with Lemongrass, Lime and Basil

This dish is remarkably simple to put together. A nice, exotic smell around the house, but really, the most esoteric ingredient is fish sauce (which can be a bear to find, I will admit).

The above photo shows some immature lemongrass - it's not nearly broad enough to be used easily in a dish like this. But, it's all they had at the farmer's market. I used the rest of this in lemongrass tea -- see an upcoming post. Normally, you will want lemongrass that is at least 1/4" in diameter at the bulb.

Spicy Tofu and Zucchini with Lemongrass, Lime and Basil

10 oz extra-firm tofu, cubed into bite-sized pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2" half-rounds
2 T vegetable oil
1 habanero, chile, seeded and thinly slicd
1 4" piece lemongrass, minced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 c stock
2 T fish sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
8-10 basil leaves, torn

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. When it's almost smoking, add tofu. Braise on all sides until desired level of crisp-ness -- about 30-60 seconds per side. (If you get carried away with this step and the tofu is perfectly browned, then remove the tofu from the pan for the next step and just set aside.) Add zucchini. Shake pan briefly, then leave to brown well, about 1-2 minutes.

Add habanero, lemongrass and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft, 1-2 more minutes. (If you removed the tofu earlier, add the tofu at the end of this step.)

Add chicken broth, fish sauce, and lime juice and cook until broth thickens, 1-2 more minutes.

Serve over rice, and topped with pieces of torn basil.

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