I made this mid-summer and never got around to posting it, so I figured I would do it now. I had gone to the farmers’ market and gotten 2 pounds of green beans, with no idea what I wanted to use them for. They sat in my fridge for days before I decided to hit the internet. I scoured it for dishes that contained ingredients that I have never used before and stumbled across this one on Herbivoracious. I decided to give it a try. Mike and I both liked it a lot (he liked it more than I did) but it was just too much work! I don’t think I’ll be making this again any time soon since I simply don’t have the time to do this, but I will probably try it again next summer.
Vietnamese Lemongrass Green Beans and Tofu
1 pound extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger (a microplane is ideal for this)
2 stalks of lemongrass (prepared as described below)
fresh chili peppers of your choice, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
- In a large skillet or wok over maximum heat, fry the tofu in about half of the oil until it is crispy and brown, stirring occasionally. Remove to paper towels and season with salt and black pepper.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan, along with the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chilis. Fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the green beans and toss thoroughly. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until somewhat tender and nice brown spots are developing. If necessary, you can add a bit of water and cover the pan for a couple of minutes to steam them. (Or pre-microwave for 3-4 minutes first – this can be a really helpful technique).
- Add the tofu back in, along with the soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir, taste and make any final seasoning adjustments, and serve.
To prepare lemongrass:
- Remove the tough outer leaves and discard.
- Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut off the bulb end and discard.
- Make thin slices up the stalk starting from the bulb end, and stopping before you cut the last 1/3. Discard the top of the talk.