Stir-Fried Vegetables in Black Bean Sauce

Stir-Fried Vegetables in Black Bean Sauce

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From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 1992

This fragrant stir-fry of tofu, colorful bell peppers and snow peas is enveloped in a rich, complexly flavored sauce Serve over rice noodles or brown rice.

Ingredients 4 servings

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  • 2 14-ounce packages firm water-packed tofu, drained
  • 4½ tablespoons Shao Hsing rice wine or sake (see Notes), divided
  • 2½ tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (see Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans or 1 tablespoon black bean-garlic sauce (see Notes)
  • 1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce (see Notes)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups snow peas, strings removed
  • 2 cups chopped scallions greens


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  1. Cut each block of tofu in half horizontally, making two large slices about 1 inch thick. Fold a clean kitchen towel and place it on a cutting board or large plate. Set the tofu on the towel. Put another folded clean towel over the tofu and place a flat, heavy weight (such as a skillet) on top; drain for 30 minutes.
  2. Stir together 2 tablespoons rice wine (or sake), 1 tablespoon soy sauce, five-spice powder and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Cut the drained tofu into 1-inch pieces. Add to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 25 minutes.
  3. Position a rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spread the tofu on it in an even layer. Broil, turning once, until lightly browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes total.
  4. Meanwhile, stir together 1½ tablespoons rice wine (or sake), the remaining 1½ tablespoons soy sauce, broth (or water), cornstarch, sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Place next to the stove.
  5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic, black beans (or black bean-garlic sauce), ginger and chile-garlic sauce and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds. Add bell peppers and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add snow peas and the remaining 1 tablespoon rice wine (or sake) and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add scallion greens and the reserved sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 45 seconds. Add the tofu and toss to coat.
  • Notes: Fermented black beans, oxidized soybeans that are salt-dried, have a savory, salty and slightly bitter flavor. They are frequently used in Chinese stir-fries, marinades and sauces. Before using, they should be soaked in water for 10 to 30 minutes to get rid of excess salt. When purchasing fermented black beans, look for shiny and firm beans (avoid dull and dry beans with salt spots). Once open, store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
  • Black bean-garlic sauce, made from pureed salted and fermented black soybeans, is a widely used condiment in Chinese cooking and can be found with the Asian food in most supermarkets.
  • Chinese five-spice powder is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. Look for it in the spice section of the supermarket or with other Asian ingredients.
  • A blend of ground chiles, garlic and vinegar, chile-garlic sauce is commonly used to add heat and flavor to Asian soups, sauces and stir-fries. It can be found in the Asian section of large supermarkets (sometimes labeled as chili-garlic sauce or paste) and keeps up to 1 year in the refrigerator.
  • Shao Hsing (or Shaoxing) is a seasoned rice wine available in most Asian specialty markets and the Asian sections of some larger supermarkets.
  • Sake is a dry, Japanese rice wine generally available where other wines are sold.
  • People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 2 cups
  • Per serving: 271 calories; 12 g fat(2 g sat); 5 g fiber; 24 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 98 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 2 g added sugars; 1,780 IU vitamin A; 120 mg vitamin C; 412 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 805 mg sodium; 676 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (200% daily value), Calcium (41% dv), Vitamin A (36% dv), Iron (28% dv), Folate (24% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 vegetable, ½ other carbohydrate, 1 medium-fat meat, 1 fat

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