Tau Pok & Brussels Sprouts

On one of our trips to Mississauga as part of Mom’s never-ending eye saga, we branched out and went to a Chinese grocery. I was very excited to be able to got some fried tofu puffs. They have a lot of names in various Chinese and other Asian languages, and have gotten translated into English in a variety of ways and can be surprisingly hard to chase down on the internet as a result. But whatever you want to call them, they are delicious little things. Frying tofu does not make it greasy so much as it drives out a lot of water and makes them somehow dense-airy-chewy all at once.

Since we had some Brussels sprouts in from the garden I did a stir-fry with them. Next time I would cut the tofu puffs in half; they were a bit too big for the other ingredients, especially our piddly little sprouts. 
You could make this with quite a few different green vegetables in place of the Brussels sprouts, when they are in season. Broccoli, or bok choy, or similar Chinese greens are probably the best choices. 
Like many Chinese (inspired) recipes, this one requires everything to be prepared in advance because once the cooking starts it all goes very quickly. Start your rice in good time before you get going, especially if you are cooking brown rice. (Because of course you are going to serve this with rice.)

3 to 4 servings30 minutes prep time 

Make the Sauce: 1 tablespoon oyster sauce1 tablespoon soy sauce1 tablespoon fish sauce OR sherry2 teaspoons arrowroot OR corn starch1 cup waterMix the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and starch in a small bowl. Slowly mix in the water. Set aside. 

Make the Dish:2 cloves of garlic6 slices peeled fresh ginger1 medium-small onion1 medium-small carrot60 – 75 grams (4 – 5 ounces) shiitake OR oyster mushrooms400 grams (14 ounces) Brussels sprouts150 grams (5 ounces) tau (fu) pok – fried tofu puffs 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Peel and mince the garlic, and put it aside in a small bowl. Peel and slice the ginger. Leave it whole to be picked out if it seems fibrous; otherwise cut it in small slivers. Add it to the garlic. Peel and sliver the onion. Peel, trim, and slice the carrot. Clean the mushrooms, discarding any tough stems and slicing the rest. Wash and trim the Brussels sprouts. If large, cut them in quarters or slices; if small, cut them just in half. Check the tau pok; it should be clean and dry. If the pieces are large (likely) you may wish to cut them in half.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add the Brussels sprouts, along with several tablespoons of water, and continue cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes more, until the water is cooked off and the Brussels sprouts seem well on the way to being done. Add the ginger and garlic and mix in well. Add the tau pok and mix in well. Stir up the sauce and pour it over, then mix in well. Sprinkle with the sesame oil. Continue cooking and stirring until it is all done to your liking, then serve at once. 

Last year at this time I made Broiled Muscovy Duck Breast.

* Originally published here

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