I posted a week ago about my bok choy with tofu, tomatoes and coconut milk. I didn't use the whole head of Bok Choy in that stew, so I found another recipe for the rest of it.
Most people who write about their cooking concentrate on the successful recipes. This can be intimidating for the beginning or otherwise insecure cook. So I decided to tell you about one of my failures.
I think the basic recipe (Bok Choy tofu goulash from Mark Bittman's How to cook everything Vegetarian) is ok, but some of my improvising didn't work very well:
- I didn't have fermented black beans, so I just left them out. This made the broth seriously underflavored. I fixed this after my next trip to the grocery store, and it went from something I wasn't sure the dog was going to help me with to something I mostly finished myself.
- I overdid the chile flakes, so in addition to being underflavored, the broth was unpleasantly hot. This also got better after I added the fermented bean sauce. It also got better as the soup cooled, which exacerbated some of the other problems, which would have been less bad in a really hot liquid.
- The worst problem was the tofu. I usually buy firm or extra-firm tofu and just cut it up into the right sized pieces without further processing. But they claim you should drain or press or freeze it, so this time I tried freezing. Then if you freeze, you're supposed to take it out two hours before you use it so you can slice, dice, or crumble it. My problem might have been that I did this and then decided to eat something else that night, so I made the goulash the next day. In any case, the frozen, thawed for a day, and then crumbled tofu was an unappetizing brown color, a rubbery texture, and as described above, didn't have any very interesting flavor to absorb. I did give a bit of the last mug of this stuff to the dog, and he lapped up the broth and ate all the bok choy and other vegetables, and waited a while before he helped out with the tofu.
As I said, it got better with more bean flavor, but this isn't a recipe I'm going to repeat, at least without doing something very different with the tofu.