Monday, May 29, 2006
Over the weekend, we had an unexpected but very welcome guest for dinner: my dear old friend Ilan. Fortunately, he came on a day when Chad was energetic enough to cook a very special dish: kale, mushrooms and tofu in black bean sauce.
The little black beans were somewhat of a mystery: I had picked them up in the Asian market, and only days afterwards did I find out they were simply a black variety of azuki beans, which are extremely beneficial for the metabolism. We cooked two pounds of them in broth, freezing most of them to eat over the week, but left out something like three or four cups; the sauce is simply mashed black beans with soy, garlic and some chili pepper. Chad was the architect of this one, but I think I can reconstruct how he did it.
Kale, Mushrooms and Tofu in Black Bean Sauce
1 small package of extra-firm tofu
10 large forest mushrooms
10-15 leaves of kale (our variety had pretty, purple veins)
1/2 a head of a purple cabbage
5 sliced garlic cloves
4 cups of cooked black azuki beans
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp ground chili
Tear up kale leaves, slice mushrooms thickly, slice cabbage into ribbons, and cut tofu into cubes.
In a small saucer, heat up some oil (canola or olive). When hot, add about half of the garlic, then follow with soy sauce. Take about 1/2 cup of the black beans, add them to the saucer, and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon, while mixing them up with the other ingredients. They should puree quite easily, rendering an exquisite, black sauce.
Now, pick up your wok; heat up some oil and add the rest of the garlic. Place tofu cubes in bottom of wok and let brown for a while. Then, add mushrooms, and after a couple of minutes, add the kale, the cabbage ribbons, and a tablespoon of water or vegetable broth. When the kale wilts and is good to eat, pour black bean sauce over the vegetables and gently mix to coat them. When everything is thoroughly coated, serve over the remainder of the black beans, or over rice.