If you've ever searched for a way to make tofu more appealing, this recipe is for you.
I was inspired to make this Vietnamese dish after finding a great book, Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mia Pham. The main ingredient, lemongrass, was conveniently found on the shelves of my local food co-op. I imagine others may have to search a bit harder to find (try an Asian grocery store or natural foods store).
My version is slightly different from the book. I added green beans, replaced sugar with agave nectar, and spiced it up a bit with some Sriracha sauce (a spicy Thai condiment you can find in many Asian restaurants and increasingly in grocery stores).
When using lemongrass, you'll want to peel away the tough outer layers. In fact, you'll probably discard more of it than you'll use. The soft, fragrant center is what you'll want to be cooking with.
2 lemongrass stalks, outer layers peeled, inner white part thinly sliced and finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (optional)
12 ounces tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon, minced garlic
1/2 lb fresh green beans, cut in 2 inch pieces, stems removed
1. Combine the lemongrass, tamari, crushed red pepper, turmeric, agave nectar, and salt in a bowl. Add the tofu cubes and turn to coat them evenly. Marinate for 30 minutes. [If you desire a little more spice, I suggest adding some Sriracha sauce]
2. Heat half the oil in a large cast iron skillet over moderately high heat. Add the onion, shallots and garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, add the green beans, a bit of water, and cook for another 5 minutes until cooked (but not too soft). Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
3. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil over moderate heat. Add the tofu mixture and using spatula or chopsticks, turn so it cooks evenly, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Add the onion and green bean mixture and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and transfer to serving plate. Serve with brown rice.