Having been raised in California, one finds other means of gauging the progress of the seasons. While the rest of the country may be gripped in un-seasonal late snow, the rainy season here has just begun. January is reliably clear enough to bring fine broccoli to market. Mid-February, those weeks threatened by heavy rain, is marked by the appearance of blood oranges at the grocer. Last year, I attempted to unite these seasonal indicators in one dish. I was quite fond of the result, and have recently revisited this marriage of winter vegetable and winter fruit.
The dark red sections of blood orange provide an appealing contrast to the shards of green broccoli. The sweet, slightly tart sauce of the blood oranges and ginger and other spices balance well with the taste of the broccoli.
- Wash the broccoli. Select a point at the base of the crown and cut off the stem. Pare each floret from the crown. Cut the thick outer skin from the stems and slice the tender heart into sticks. Set the florets and the sticks aside.
(If including tofu, slice each flat cake in half, then into diamonds or triangles. Place the tofu with the broccoli.)
- Peel the blood oranges. If patient, slice into the sections and remove the skin from the pulp; reserve the pulp. Or, once tired of this thankless task, section the remaining blood orange and cut the sections into thirds. Set the blood oranges aside.
- Wash the scallions and slice the white section into small rounds. Put the sliced scallions into a bowl. Pour vegetable broth, soy sauces, and xiao sheng over the scallions. Mix in the cornstarch.
- Shell the garlic cloves and smash them with the flat of a knife. Place them, along with the green ends of the scallions, the ginger coins, and any dried chili peppers in the wok. Pour a few tablespoons of vegetable oil over the aromatics.
- Set the wok over high heat. As the oil heats, move it around the wok to coat the sides. When the spices "foam" in the hot oil, throw in the broccoli (and tofu) and stir to toss them in the oil.
- After a minute or two, the broccoli should be seared and smell "toasted", add the blood oranges and toss twice.
- Pour the sauce into the wok and toss to coat the broccoli. Move the broccoli (and tofu) to the sides of the wok so the sauce can come to boil in the middle.
- Once the sauce has thickened, toss the broccoli (and tofu) again and turn off the heat. Remove to a serving bowl or dish, pour the sauce over.
The North American vegetarian lifestyle seems to rely on single pot meals. Further, there is an assumption among Americans that the cooking technique "stir-fry" means a mixture of many different ingredients in the wok, perhaps covered with a sweet sauce. The synthesis of these two dreadful culinary ideas leads to "veggie stir-frys" that consist of an unplanned medley of whatever was discovered in the refrigerator before it composts. This deplorable state of culinary affairs is an abomination unto Martin Yan and ought to be avoided at all costs.
I normally cook this recipe as a part of a three or four dish dinner, with white rice. However, when I'm feeling lazy, the addition of pressed tofu turns this dish into a very fine single pot meal, to my own chagrin.
iamkaym notes A Thai friend who taught me to stir-fry emphasized that whenever an unexpected guest arrived you don't add more or something else to the pot, you add another simple dish to the meal.
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Things to do with tofu
Vegetarian meals that aren't just brown gack