This summer we experimented with growing Asian greens. We ordered every variety that we could find that would survive the long, hot Texas summer. The plants were quite hardy and productive, far exceeding our expections and producing heavily all summer. The challenge for us then became what to do with these exotic greens.
We have discovered that Asian greens are amazingly versatile. They can act as a stand-in for spinach in Italian recipes, as lettuce for our Middle Eastern salads, and as the vegetable for stir frys. Last night, we created a Pan-Asian dish using a combination of three of the greens: Senposai (Japanese), Yu Choy (Chinese) and Natsu Rakuten (Japanese). We added Thai eggplant and jalapenos from the garden, plus tofu, to create a filling dish with a bit of a kick. If you love heat, feel free to add even more chiles to the recipe. You can also substitute any greens you have available if senposai, yu choy and misome are not sold at your local Kroger or Farmer's Market.
Spicy Tofu with Asian Greens
1 lb tofu
peanut oil for frying
olive oil for sauteeing
8 sections green onion, each 1" long
8 thin slices ginger
2 tsp chili paste
1 tsp chopped fresh jalapeno
2 cups assorted Asian greens
(we used senposai, yu choy and natsu rakuten)
1 lb Thai (or other Asian-style) eggplant, sliced thinly
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp corn starch
5 tsp soy sauce
2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- Horizontally cut block of tofu into 3 sections. Then cut each slice in the shape of an "X" -- on the diagonal each direction to make a total of 12 triangles of tofu.
- Heat the peanut oil on high, then fry tofu about 4 minutes until both sides are golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- Heat olive oil and saute eggplant until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. Using same pan and oil, cook greens briefly (about 1 minute). Remove and set aside.
- Heat 3 Tb peanut oil over medium and saute onion, ginger, chili paste and jalapenos until fragrant. Add tofu, eggplant, greens and all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.