I've followed Fuchsia Dunlop on Twitter for years, and have heard her books are great. I can't buy every cookbook I want, though, I'm just not that much of a baller. A few weeks ago I finally got a library card again, and went through my Amazon Wishlist to reserve a bunch of the cookbooks I've been meaning to check out (see what I did there?) Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice will have to become a permanent addition to my collection. It's full of really great information and inspiring recipes. One that caught my eye was a celery beef stir-fry. Celery is usually overlooked, thought of mostly as a background flavor or a kid's snack. I love the flavor of celery, and I love chopping it... it's so satisfying! Anyone? I decided to go meatless for mine, though I do plan on trying Fuchsia's recipe soon. This was quick and pleasantly spicy, the celery adding crunch and it's distinct flavor.
Szechuan Celery Tofu Stir-fry
-3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
-1 Tablespoon whole Section peppercorns
-1 block extra firm tofu weighted and drained on paper towels, cut into 2-inch sticks
-2 Thai red chiles, sliced thin
-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
-4 stalks celery cut into 2-inch sticks
-3 Tablespoons soy sauce
-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
-1 teaspoon sesame oil
In a large skillet heat the oil and peppercorns over medium heat, let them sizzle for about 1-2 minutes until they are very fragrant, but not burnt. Use a slotted spoon to remove the peppercorns and discard, leaving the flavored oil. Add the tofu to the hot oil and cook on high heat, tossing (gently) often, until golden on all sides. Add the garlic and chile peppers, toss to combine and let sizzle about 30 seconds. Meanwhile, whisk the soy sauce, crushed red pepper and sesame oil together. Add the mixture and the celery to the pan. Cook, gently stirring or tossing often, for 3-5 minutes until the celery is just soft and everything is hot and well-Incorporated. Serve hot over rice. Serves 2 as a full meal.
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