For anyone just tuning in, you may or may not know that I spent a year following college graduation teaching English in rural northeastern China (there's even a separate blog dedicated to it). I ate a LOT of good food during that year, and none of it was this concoction known as mu shu here in the west. In fact, I'm not convinced it isn't a product of westernized Chinese food evolution. Still, I did live in northern China, and I learned very quickly that their cuisine does not closely resemble what you find on a standard take-out menu here, which is often dominated by southern Chinese dishes.
All that said, I found myself with an odd craving for trashy take-out mu shu recently, so I figured, why not try to healthify it a little? So I improvised and the result was good, so now I present you with my take on mu shu tofu.
For the tofu:
- 1 block extra firm tofu, cut into 8 equal slices
- 2 tbsp agave nectar (or honey/sugar/sweetener)
- 2 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp each crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder
- 2 tsp-ish ground ginger
For the mu shu filling:
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (I actually used some from a jar)
- 1/2 bag broccoli slaw, or about 2 cups julienned broccoli stalks
- 1 bag cole slaw mix, such as Dole, or at least 4 cups shredded cabbage
- 4 tbsp black bean sauce, such as Kame
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tsp basil (I used a Dorot frozen basil cube)
- 2 tsp agave nectar (or other sweetener)
- 1 tsp+ ground ginger
First, you'll want to prepare the tofu using the Gliding Calm method:
- Preheat the oven to 400*.
- Slice the tofu and combine all the rub ingredients in a bowl.
- Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the tofu slices on the prepared sheet.
- Brush each slice with the rub. Flip tofu and brush the other side.
- Bake for 30 minutes (or until at desired crispness), flipping halfway through the cooking time.
- Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and let cook until it begins to sizzle.
- Add shredded veggies and stir to coat with the oil. The volume of the veggies should reduce a little as you do this.
- Add the black bean sauce and seasonings. Stir until everything is well coated and distributed.
- Add the water and simmer, stirring occasionally and adjusting the seasonings if desired, until the veggies are tender-crisp.
- Fill a whole-grain tortilla with 2 slices of tofu and 1/4 of the vegetable mixture and enjoy!
Ok, so obviously the entire portion did not fit inside my tortilla, but I have no problems with a little extra on the side. :) Since I made this with black bean sauce, my mu shu is not as sweet (or oily) as the take-out version. If you want a taste more similar to take-out, I recommend buying a jar of hoisin sauce, also known as plum sauce. Take-out mu shu usually comes with paper thin rice pancakes, which you would smear with hoisin and then dollop in the filling. Obviously, I have taken some liberties with that idea, but the essence was there and it was tasty. Just play with the spices and/or veggies to suit yourself! This was totally improvised, so it's a formula worth playing with. Let yourself get decently heavy-handed with the ground ginger, though, both in the filling and on the tofu - you won't regret it!
And for dessert, we have a Seinfeld shake.
No, the OTHER Seinfeld - the wifey. I felt all deceptively delicious blending this:
- big handful of organic salad greens
- 1 6-oz container Turtle Mountain chocolate coconut "yogurt"
- 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 6 ice cubes
Don't knock it 'til you try it - the greens were not even detectable among the rich chocolatey goodness!
Speaking of rich chocolatey goodness...
I got a present today. JACKPOT! I've been wanting to try Vitatops forever! Many thanks to a very generous Vitalicious - y'all are gonna be seeing a few Vitatops 'round here for a while, dontcha know...
And just for food porn indulgence, here's a picture of the breakfast I ate Saturday.
I never got around to posting then, but I keep looking at this picture and wishing I was eating it again!
- 2 toasted Kashi waffles
- 1 tbsp crunchy natural PB
- 1 tbsp spicy maple fig spread
- 1 container Oikos vanilla Greek yogurt (spread in between the waffles and over the top)
Somehow the pillowy yogurt on top keeps sucking me into its tractor beam and I get little spiral swirlies in my pupils.
Alright, that's enough foodie nonsense for one evening. How about a giveaway? Missy is giving away Rudi's bakery goodies here!
Also, I'll be adding a couple sites to my Healthy Resources link list at right:
You're just a quick search away from a healthy meal at your favorite restaurants! Happy eats. :)