Remember when you first became a vegetarian or vegan? Or, if you aren't either, just imagine that you are one for a second. You go to a restaurant, order a vegetable infused meal--no meat, eggs, butter, whatever in sight, and you're proud of yourself for finding an acceptable dish on the menu.
Now, imagine that you're at a take-out Chinese place. Your favourite Chinese take-out place where no one speaks English...well, very little at least. You order your favourite dish--garlic broccoli. You eat this dish for almost a year believing that it's vegetarian. Then, months and months later after your initial order of the supposedly vegetarian dish, you walk home from campus, are famished and sick of leftovers, have a crown of broccoli and a thing of tofu and cupboards full of spices and sauces and you go to the internet to pull up a Chinese garlic sauce recipe and--
Garlic sauce isn't vegan. Or vegetarian. It calls for oyster sauce. Now, do you think that you're local Chinese take-out place doesn't use oyster sauce in their garlic sauce? Probably not. Why not? It's cheap, easy, and what every normal recipe calls for. So what the hell am I supposed to eat at a Chinese restaurant now???
1 pound of extra-firm tofu
1 crown of broccoli
1 c brown rice
1/4 vegetable oil (I used a combination of peanut and sesame oils)
2 c vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
For the rice:
Bring 1 cup of brown rice and 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Add water as needed until the rice is well cooked. Be careful not to burn (i.e. add water when necessary until rice is cooked).
For the sauce:
Bring the vegeble broth to a boil. Add the garlic, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper and sugar, stirring to combine well.
For the stir-fry:
Slice the tofu length-wise. Press dry between paper towels. This may take 15-30 minutes. Cut the broccoli into florets.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet.
Add the tofu to the wok first, allow to brown on both sides. (Be sure to not let the oil get too hot or else it will pop up into your face and burn you--not a pleasant experience, trust me.) Add the broccoli, cooking just long enough until the florets are tender.
Turn down the heat. Add the sauce. Mix in the cornstarch, constantly stirring until the sauce thickens (5-8 minutes).
Serve over rice.