Asian “beef” and potatoes.
While we love our Asian food over here, we still miss our old American standards, and nothing says classic home-cookin’ like beef and potatoes. Don’t worry, folks, we didn’t use actual beef here; I’m still vegan. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while China lacks vegetarian meat substitutes like we have in America (i.e., soy nuggets, boca burgers, etc.), they have so many varieties of tofu! And I’m not talking about your average, white block of tofu here, either. Some of it looks more like chicken with a lighter taste and texture, some looks like ground beef (great for chili and “bolognese” sauce) and some of it looks and tastes like a sort of beef brisket. This, my friends, is what gave us the inspiration for our Asian beef and potatoes. Well, that and the cloves of fresh garlic and the bright, crunchy green beans begging to be devoured.
If you’re using this recipe in America, feel free to use whatever meat substitute you have available there. In addition to this, you’ll need whole potatoes, green beans and other fresh veggies (we also used zucchini), a couple of whole garlic cloves, black pepper and soy sauce. Start by chunking your potatoes into bite-sized pieces and throw them into the wok with water almost reaching the top of them. Let the potatoes come to a boil and cook until they’re just a little soft. Because they take longer to cook, they need a head start, but they will be sauteed more with the other veggies, so you don’t want them overdone.
After your potatoes are ready, drain the water and add in a little oil, along with your chopped green beans and other vegetables. Also add in your finely chopped garlic. As Elizabeth showed me, you can remove the garlic shell by smashing it with the flat side of your knife before chopping it up. You could also use a garlic press if you have one handy. We used 2-3 cloves in our recipe, but we really love the flavor of garlic. You can use however much you like.
After you have all of this, splash in some soy sauce to taste. Not to give away our secret, but this, along with the black pepper, is what helps to give this dish the Asian twist. When your vegetables are mostly cooked, add in the tofu. If your tofu or meat-substitute is not pre-cooked, you should add it in earlier with the veggies, but ours is pre-cooked, so it only needs to warm and mix with the other flavors.
Let this simmer until all warm (maybe 2-4 minutes) and then remove from heat. Serve with rice or alone, and with your favorite beverage (we’re very into red wine here 🙂 ) and enjoy the unique blend of American tradition with Asian flavor!