I finally made it to Fubonn this week, and got a few things that have been lingering on my shopping list for months now (brown basmati rice, Tom Kah soup paste, rice vinegar), and of course a bunch of other things that I can’t help but throw in the cart when I’m there. I can’t attest to their quantity or organic status at all, but Fubon has the absolute cheapest veggies I’ve ever seen — actual good quality Asian veggies like baby bok choy, not the sad looking tufts of greens that call themselves bok choy at regular grocery stores. Nope, at Fubonn you can get a gigantic bag of about 12 of them for $1.64, and a package of oyster mushrooms that looks like this, for less than five bucks:
So last night when Jesse texted me on my bike ride home, already 7:15 and saying he was just getting home from work as well and can we do something easy for dinner, I knew it was a stir fry kinda night.
I had a package of tofu sitting in the fridge, which was just the ticket because it’s been a very meat-heavy week, between leftover pork shoulder roast, and barbecued chicken drumsticks. So right when I got home, while I gathered and assembled all the veggies I’d be using, I quickly cubed up the brick of tofu, melted some coconut oil and black bean paste in the skillet, and started frying it up.
I like to cook my tofu for a long time over medium heat, kind of like caramelizing onions. It drives me crazy when tofu is all soft and crumbly and falling apart — I want it firm and crispy and tough on the outside, but without having to deep fry it. The key is cooking it in a reasonable amount of oil, with a little bit of salt sprinkled on top to draw out the water, for nearly half an hour, but on a low enough heat so that it doesn’t burn. Canola oil works better than olive oil for making it nice and crispy, but coconut oil is way healthier and works just as well.
Meanwhile, I took each little bundle of bok choy and separated it — sliced off the closed end so that the leaves would all separate, and then sliced between the stalk and the leaves. The stalk takes about as long to cook as cabbage, so I wanted to give it a good ten minutes by itself in the wok before the softer ingredients got added, whereas the leaves go in at the very end, so that they wilt and cook just a little bit.
Here’s everybody waiting for the wok to heat up.
I got a pot of water boiling, and cooked a third of a bag of these Korean noodles (they only take about five minutes), setting them aside to cool. Why Korean noodles you ask? Well first of all, I love their texture — they are thin and super stretchy, like nearly unbreakably stretchy, and get all glassy once they’re cooked, absorbing the sauce better than rice noodles, in my opinion. And the best part? They’re made from sweet potato starch rather than wheat, so they’re totally gluten free!
This may be a thing for the next little while…I’ve been trying to be gluten-avoidant for the past six months or so, but really only half-heartedly. I decided this week that I’m going to give it a more serious go — not in any sort of Celiac or nit-picky way…I’ll probably still use regular flour to thicken sauces and all that, but I’m going to forego the obvious culprits like straight up wheat pasta.
So, back to the wok. I started stir-frying the mushrooms and bok choy stalks until they were soft, then added the bell peppers.
As for sauce, we had picked this up earlier this week during a Trader Joe’s frenzy.
I dipped a finger in to try it and wasn’t crazy about it — it was super sweet and smelled more like barbecue sauce than an Asian stir-fry, so I just started with a few tablespoons as a base, then doctored everything up with soy sauce and a bit of fish sauce. I should have added chili paste in at the point, too, but I overlooked it and ended up stirring it in to my own personal plate, which still worked.
At the very end, I added the noodles that had been cooling until they had been coated with the sauce, chopped up some cilantro for garnish, and served it up!
This Week’s Groceries
- Apple cider: $3.39
- Pork shoulder roast: $9.11
- Chicken breast tenders: $7.52
- Gala apples: $2.74
- White onions: $0.62
- Collard greens: $1.99
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $274.63
Trader Joe’s 1/6
- Half and half: $1.89
- Hummus: $3.99
- Olive tapenade: $2.99
- Sumatra coffee: $5.99
- French roast coffee: $5.99
- Asiago cheese: $3.65
- Crumbled feta: $2.79
- Gingerbread coffee: $7.99
- Horseradish: $1.99
- Pizza dough: $1.29
- Dynamo juice: $3.99
- Olive oil: $5.49
- Pizza sauce: $1.99
- General Tsao’s cooking sauce: $2.79
- Seaweed salad: $2.99
- Biryani rice stir fry: $2.29
- Frozen cauliflower & romanesco: $2.99
- Maui beef ribs: $7.61
- Lemongrass chicken Thai sticks: $3.29
- Fish nuggets: $3.99
- Peanut butter pretzels: $3.79
- Chicken shu mai: $2.99
- Tricolor radiatore pasta: $1.99
- Mushroom ravioli with truffle sauce: $3.49
- Malabari paratha bread: $1.69
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $184.70
- Corn tortillas: $2.39
- Eggs: $2.59
- Chicken drumsticks: $7.85 — which we smothered in an amazing rub/marinade during an impromptu grilling party at our house for a friend’s birthday on Wednesday night
- Ninkasi oatmeal stout: $8.27
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $163.60