Spoon Bending

A Stir Fry Recipe

I found this community of people on the internet who seemingly take "you can do anything you set your mind to" quite literally. They seem to legitimately believe that the human brain is capable of doing absolutely anything as long as it wholly believes that it can. Anything. Like bending spoons with your mind for EXAMPLE.

spoon bending children

This really got me thinking. I started daydreaming about one of these true believer types actually raising a child and teaching it, from birth, that it could do whatever it wanted (just as long as it wholly and truly believed it was possible.) I imagined this child zipping around in the sky, shooting lasers from his eyes, just razing buildings left and right. I think a more realistic scenario would be more like the kid, believing he had the power of flight, just jumping off of a roof and immediately breaking both of his legs. Christ, what if the neighbors saw? That's a CPS call just waiting to happen.
But what if I'm just being a negative Nancy and we all actually really do possess these innate abilities? Could it actually be possible? Maybe the problem with the world is that we just aren't believing hard enough. We've embraced the bittersweet cynicism, the dull gray of apathy, become jaded and nihilistic. Maybe Journey had it right all along and we stopped believing even after they specifically instructed us not to. Could they have been on to something? Were they actually an advanced group consciousness from a higher plane of existence incarnating in the third dimension to spread the good word?
Who knows, but one thing I do believe in is how good this stir fry is.

The Sauce

Everyone knows that the key to a good stir fry is a good sauce. Everyone also knows that the key to a good food blog is lots of photos. That much is obvious, but if you haven't noticed, I do things a bit different here at Casual Cookery. I go against the grain. I forge my own path. I smoked a little pot and forgot to take pictures of half the steps for this recipe. I assure you though, the forgetting is actually a deliberate part of my elaborate process. Because I'm an artist. Possibly the last true iconoclast. I did manage to get this snapshot of all the sauce stuff, though.

sauce ingredients

What we have here is oyster sauce, rice vinegar, black vinegar, and sweet soy sauce. Sesame oil is also in the pic, but we won't need that until later. I just kinda played with these until I liked the taste, but I'll put the amounts I used in the recipe below. Black vinegar is really interesting in that it isn't made with grapes, but various types of grains. The flavor is really quite something. It's got a pretty strong floral quality to it with hints of malt and liquorice. It is certainly one of the vinegars I have ever tasted. A perfect way to add a bit of complexity to your sauce. You're also gonna need some fresh garlic and ginger to really make it sing. In case you were wondering, this is roughly what it should look like after you chop it all up:

garlic and ginger

So you just want to mix all of that up together and that's your sauce. If it's a bit thin for your liking you can throw in a bit of cornstarch and that'll thicken it right up. Easy enough, yeah? You know what else you think would be easy? Remembering to take pictures of the food that you're making for your food blog. Sometimes the capability to perform even the simplest of tasks eludes me. Please pretend that there's a nice picture of a fantastic wok sauce below. Just imagine it. See it? So beautiful.

The Stir Fry

Alright, now we have to get all our stir fry ingredients ready. We'll start with the tofu. A lot of people are of the belief that you should press your tofu to remove excess moisture. You can do that if you want. I'm not gonna tell you how to live. I was actually suspicious of tofu for a long time because of an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I saw when I was a kid. Splinter was eating some and one of the boys commented on how disgusting it was and if you can't trust an anthropomorphic cartoon turtle that lives on pizza, who can you trust? Anyway, once the tofu is good and pressed (or not) we want to cut that into cubes.

cubed tofu

Next you're going to want to dump a bunch of your sesame oil in a pan and get that up to a medium high heat. After that, you just wanna carefully drop your tofu in, sprinkle some salt on it for good luck, fry for about 5 or 6 minutes, and then flip the cubes over and do it again on the opposite side.

tofu frying

It should be noted that there are probably plenty of better ways to cook your tofu. I think a baked version might actually work better with this, but this is what I did. Regardless of your method, after your tofu is finished cooking, set it aside for now and get to work on your vegetables. You can really use any kind you want. Here I used broccoli, yellow onion, red bell pepper, and shiitake mushrooms. Do be aware that the cook times for other veg may differ.

vegetables chopped

Grease up your pan with a bit of canola oil and a lot of that sesame and throw in your veggies. You'll want to season with some salt and then cook these on medium high heat for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the veggies reach the desired level of done, drop the heat to low, reintroduce the tofu, and pour in that sauce you made. Stir it around and get everything nice and coated and cook for about another minute. You can leave it on a bit longer if that sauce still isn't as thick as you want it. Below is a picture of an unstirred, unsauced fry because some stoned idiot forgot he was supposed to be documenting this process.

vegetables in pan

A keen observer may notice that I'm not actually using my wok here. That's because my fucking housemate thinks he might have donated it to the Goodwill because it was "taking up space" and he "didn't think anyone used it, anyway."

The Finished Product

Congratulations on your stir fry, bud! Time to dig in. Oh, I guess I forgot to mention this earlier, but you're probably going to want some rice to go with it. I would strongly suggest making rice at some point. Don't know how to make rice? What business do you think you even have on a recipe website in the first place? You're unbelievable, you know that?

plated stir fry

The Recipe

Wok Sauce

1. Dice the onion and garlic.
2. Whisk all the ingredients together, tasting and adjusting to your preference.

Stir Fry

1. Heat 2 tbsp Sesame Oil over medium high heat. Pat the tofu dry with a paper towel and transfer to the hot pan. Season with salt and then cook for 5 to 6 minutes, flip over to the opposite side, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes more. Set aside.
2. Add the rest of the oil to the medium high heated pan followed by the veg. Season with salt, cook for 6 minutes stirring occasionally.
3. Drop the heat to low and stir in your tofu and wok sauce. Cook for 1 minute, coating everything evenly.