I am on a quest to serve healthy greens more frequently, and last week I was tempted by Chinese broccoli. Steve does not like the bitter flavor of most greens, and when he sees sliced chard or kale on the cutting board, he always asks why I would want to ruin dinner with something so unpleasant. However, broccoli rabe and its close relative Chinese broccoli are sweeter than most greens, and if I sneak them into soups, stews, and pasta dishes, Steve enjoys the meal.
This photo shows me creating the dish that convinced Steve greens can be tasty. It is a broccoli rabe and tofu stir-fry that is in my upcoming cookbook, Weeknight Fresh and Fast. Delicate broccoli rabe and creamy tofu are jazzed up with assertive Asian chile sauce and fragrant ginger, and then spooned over steaming, delicately scented brown jasmine rice.
Broccoli rabe is available at most grocery stores, but I can’t pass up the even more appealing Chinese broccoli, when I find it at farmers’ markets. Often featured at Asian stands, it might be called Chinese kale, Kai-lan, or Gai Lan. Look for flat, blue-green leaves and a few small flower heads that resemble tiny broccoli florets, sometimes with small white flowers, atop thick stems. I often substitute it for broccoli rabe, and that is what I did for dinner last night.
As always, Steve asked why I, but I now remind him I am using his favorite green. Here is the recipe, as a sneak peak at what is coming in my book.
Stir-Fried Tofu with Shiitake Mushrooms, and Broccoli Rabe or Chinese Broccoli
- 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, preferably organic
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Asian red chile sauce such as sambal oelek or sriracha
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼ cup minced green onions or shallots
- 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
- 1 large bunch broccoli rabe or Chinese broccoli, rinsed, cut into 1½-inch lengths
- 1 package, 14–15 oz firm tofu, drained, but into ¾ -inch squares
- Coarse kosher salt
- 1 cup brown jasmine or basmati rice, 1½ cups for 4 servings, freshly cooked
- In a small bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, vinegar, sesame oil, pepper, chili sauce, and sugar.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the green onions and ginger and stir-fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir until coated with oil, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe or Chinese broccoli and stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Cover and cook until the greens are just tender-crisp, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Uncover, add the tofu and stir gently. Stir the broth mixture to dissolve the cornstarch, and then add to the skillet. Cook until the sauce thickens and the tofu is heated through, 2–3 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Spoon the rice onto warmed plates, top with the tofu mixture, and serve right away.