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Sichuan Vegetarian Stir Fry

This is simple and easy to prepare; perfect for weekday evenings.  This also makes a great starting point for your own creativity.

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated Ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground
3 whole dried chiles (optional)
1 large red bell pepper thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups firm tofu
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons  Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons  water

Prepare the tofu by cutting the block into 1" slices and placing the slices on a plate covered with 3-4 paper towels.  Cover the tofu with a couple more paper towels and set a dinner plate on top.  Let the tofu set for 30 minutes to wring some of the moisture out.

Meanwhile prep the veggies and make the sauce by mixing together all ingredients, except the cornstarch and water, in a bowl.  Mix the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl to create a slurry.  When the tofu is ready cut into 1" pieces.

Heat the wok over high heat.  Add the oil and swirl to coat.  Add the chiles and cook until they begin to darken, about 1 minute.  Add the garlic, ginger and Sichuan pepper; continue to cook for an additional minute.  Add the scallions, bell pepper and broccoli and stir fry for about 2 minutes.

Add the sauce to the wok then add the cornstarch slurry and stir to combine completely.  Now add the tofu and allow to cook an additional minute or so until the sauce has thickened and the tofu is heated through.

Serve with white rice or rice noodles.


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