I did a very emotional scene yesterday and felt drained from the intensity and the commotion. I needed some peaceful alone time, some stillness and silence to rejuvenate myself. Slowly making a meal for one was my form of meditation. The act of washing, slicing and stirring food kept me present and engaged with the here and now, yet it was also simple and familiar enough to allow daydreaming. There was no hurry, no need for precise measuring, no complicated steps to follow and no pleasing anyone else but myself. Like a stroll with no particular destination, being and doing became one for me in cooking.
One ingredient that I love to use for Chinese cooking is oyster sauce. Often times, it alone is enough flavor for many different kinds of food — both vegetables and meat.
Silken Tofu Medallions in Oyster Sauce
250 g silken firm tofu
1/2 carrot, sliced
10 sweet snap peas
1 red chili pepper, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Chive and sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Ingredients for sauce:
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
2 teaspoon water
Mix all ingredients for sauce in a small bowl.
Slightly brown the tofu in a non-stick pan with the 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high heat. Set aside.
Use the left over oil in the pan to stir fry the snap peas, carrot and the chili pepper for about 2 to 3 minutes or until snap peas turn bright green.
Lower the heat to and return tofu to the pan. Pour sauce into the pan and stir gently to coat for 30 to 45 seconds. Turn off stove.
Garnish with chopped chive and sesame seeds.
Note: You can use frozen peas if snap peas are not available. The tofu that I bought in the market here came in a tube and I sliced it into medallions. If your tofu comes in a rectangular box, you can slice them in half length wise and then slice them sideways into quarter inch pieces.
Garlic New Zealand Spinach in Oyster Sauce
New Zealand spinach (I estimate about 3 1/2 cups in the bag I bought)
2 cloves garlic
1 bird eye chili pepper (optional)
2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Throw away the tough stems of the New Zealand. Wash and air dry or spin dry the spinach.
Heat the oil in a wok on high and add garlic and pepper. Stir until aromatic and add spinach. Toss until wilted and bright green.
Serve with the oyster sauce.
Note: Adjust the amount of cooking oil and oyster sauce with the amount of vegetable you cook. Baby Chinese Broccoli can be cooked the same way. You can also blanch the vegetable instead of stir frying it. Add a little sesame oil on top if you blanch instead of stir frying.
Here are some photos of yesterday’s lunch on set. I couldn’t help sharing these pictures because the dishes tasted and looked wonderful.