Did I mention that we are broke students who live in Newfoundland, a rock in the middle of the north Pacific Atlantic Ocean?
This recipe arose out of necessity, when the only vegetable we could get in the winter that was half decent was broccoli, and the only protein we could afford was a block of tofu or a thin frying steak that cost two dollars.
Fortunately, we take after our respective parents, and do not lack for condiments.
This is a Pie recipe, and until the night he let me photograph it, I never knew the secret. Of course, as he says, improvisation is quintessential, and the recipe is not exactly the same every night. Accordingly, I have provided you with alternative ingredient options: the tofu option (“broccofu”), the steak option (“broccomeat”), the teriyaki version (sweeter), and the black bean version (more sour).
Separate two small heads of broccoli into individual florets, and slice up the tender part of the stem, while you’re at it.
Cube a block of firm tofu — the firmer the better, because it will disintegrate on you. I love cutting tofu. It’s like extra hard Jello.
Alternatively, slice a thin uncooked steak into strips.
In a large pan or wok, heat up two tablespoons of peanut or other frying oil with a tablespoon each of minced garlic and ginger from a jar. If you are doing the teriyaki version, omit the ginger.
When your oil is sizzling with your minced herbs, add your tofu or your steak and allow to brown for a few minutes. While it’s doing its thing, mix together, in a small bowl, a tablespoon of each of the following (2 if you’re feeling saucy):
black bean sauce (it’s more of a paste) / alternatively / teriyaki sauce
garlic black bean sauce (it’s more of a liquid) / alternatively / sweet and sour sauce
hoi sin sauce
garlic chili sauce
I know. Everything seems to have garlic in it. Trust me. It works out. Don’t be afraid to improvise with what you have and experiment to cater to your own tastes. Stir fries are meant to be made up.
Pour the sauce into the pan and stir the tofu/steak until coated. The Pie wishes to point out that the reason he adds the sauce before the broccoli is because he finds that the florets act like sponges and suck all the sauce away unless it has a chance to coat the other ingredients first.
After mixing in the sauce, drop in your broccoli florets and stems, and heat until the broccoli is bright green.
Serves 2 over rice. With the rice, the whole thing costs you less than $4. My cheap brother Kristopf would be proud.