Category Archives: Asian

Eli’s Broccoli (and Tofu)



My kids love broccoli and this recipe is why.

• Broccoli has twice the vitamin C, ounce for ounce, as oranges and is one of the best sources of vitamin B, folate, dietary fibre, iron and calcium. It is also loaded with antioxidants and protective phytochemicals which help prevent some types of cancer.

• I like this dish with the Tofu and green onions but my Shabbat dinner gang prefers it without. Just skip these steps if you just want the broccoli.

• Cooking with a wok is the best way to do this dish; the high heat, seals in flavor. Others have tried it without a wok and said that it turns out just fine.

• I’m told that organic broccoli is tastier.

Shao Xing cooking wine shouldn’t be substituted with another cooking wine because this gives the dish its distinctive aroma. It can be found in most Chinese grocery stores.



  • Broccoli – 2 large bunches or 3 medium bunches, cut into branches
  • Garlic – 1 head peeled and crushed.
  • Cooking oil – canola, sunflower or vegetable. 1/3 of a cup
  • Pepper – 1 teaspoon.
  • Shao Xing cooking wine – 1/3 of a cup,
  • Soy sauce – 1/3 of a cup- I prefer ‘Tamari’, which is a type (one of five) of Japanese soy sauce.
  • Oyster sauce-3 tablespoons. I prefer vegetarian oyster flavored sauce.
  • Sesame oil – one tablespoon
  • Sesame seeds, roasted- handful
  • Green onions- optional, one bunch chopped finely,
  • Tofu- optional, extra firm, one package. Cut the tofu into strips that look like French fries and are approximately one centimeter thick and 4-5 centimeters long
  • Large colander


  1. Broccoli- cut, clean, trim and wash the broccoli. Don’t cut too small. Try and keep natural branch-like look of broccoli. Boil water in a large pot. Place broccoli in BOILING WATER and cover for 2 min- 3 min. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!! You only want to blanche the broccoli and keep it firm, not limp. Immediately, drain in colander and place broccoli into large bowl with ice and cold water. Completely submerse the broccoli in the cold water and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes. (You can start the tofu now if you choose.) Once broccoli has cooled down completely, drain the water in a colander and dry off as much as possible. Don’t drain till completely cooled off.

  2. Tofu-. Heat up wok on high till just about to smoke. Add cooking oil, swirling it around continuously to coat all the surfaces. Heat up the oil to just before it smokes. Place tofu in oil and stir-fry gently so as not to break up tofu into little pieces. Brown the outside without burning. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Scoop out the tofu using a spoon with holes and set aside.

  3. Heat up wok till just about to smoke. Add cooking oil (or use oil that was just used for the tofu), swirling it around continuously to coat all the surfaces and again heat up the oil to just before it smokes. Add pepper and swirl around for 10 seconds. Add garlic and swirl around for 10 seconds. Add broccoli and stir-fry vigorously for 1 minute coating all surfaces of the broccoli. Add green onions now and stir-fry for another 20 seconds. Add soy sauce, Shao Xing cooking wine, and oyster sauce. If you are using the tofu, place it in now. Mix and stir vigorously for 2 minutes.

  4. Immediately drain the contents of the wok into a colander in the sink and shake off any excess liquid still on the broccoli. Make sure you remove as much liquid as possible. You only want the broccoli ‘coated’ and not sitting in a sauce.

  5. Transfer the broccoli into a serving dish. Drizzle sesame oil all over the broccoli. Sprinkle the sesame seeds liberally. Cover and store or serve immediately.

Leave a comment

Filed under Asian, Veggies

Sesame Soba Noodles with Tofu and Vegetables

Soba. The brownish buckwheat soba noodles from Japan are becoming more popular as their beguiling, nutty flavor and nutritional value engage the attention of Western cooks. They are rich in protein and fiber. While they are most commonly served cold with a dipping sauce or hot in soups, soba noodles are extraordinarily versatile and lend themselves to salads to stir-fried dishes as well. Soba may also be flavored with green tea (cha soba), lemon zest or black sesame seeds.”




an 8-ounce package soba (buckwheat noodles)*
1 Asian or Bosc pear
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
a 1/2-pound piece firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry, hard edges trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 carrots, cut into 1 1/2-by 1/4-inch sticks
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced thin
4 scallions, sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted lightly
*available at Asian markets and natural foods stores


In a 6-quart kettle bring 5 quarts salted water to a boil for noodles. Peel and cut pear into matchstick pieces.

In a large non-stick skillet heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over moderately high heat and brown tofu. Transfer tofu with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and season with salt and pepper.

Add carrots to skillet and sauté, stirring, until just tender and golden brown. Transfer carrots with slotted spoon to a bowl. Add to skillet remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, mushrooms, scallions, gingerroot, and pear and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until vegetables are tender. Remove skillet from heat and stir in carrots.

Cook noodles in boiling water until al dente. Drain noodles in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. In a large bowl toss noodles with 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

Return skillet to moderate heat and add 1/4 cup water, tamari or soy sauce, vinegar, and remaining teaspoon sesame oil. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring, until hot. Add noddles, tossing to combine and adding more water if necessary, and cook until heated through. Season noodles with salt and pepper and serve warm topped with tofu and sesame seeds.

Serves 4.

January 1996

Leave a comment

Filed under Asian, Veggies

Marnee’s (well, Danya’s actually) Bok Choy

Marnee, also of Iraqi descent, is a friend and contributor to this blog. She has been making this bok choy ever since her cousin Danya from Vancouver came to NYC for Rosh Hashana in 2000. Marnee’s favourite part about making this dish, “is going to Chinatown and getting the bok choy there.” She adds, “Chinatown – best bargains in New York.” Marnee cautions me (like a real cook!) that she doesn’t know the exact measurements – so lighten up everyone, and improvise. Every time I ask her “how much?” of each ingredient – she looks at me incredulously. Here we go…


  • bok choy (2 bunches)
  • fresh ginger – 1 ‘stick’ (or root?); VERY finely chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (or to taste; finely chopped)
  • olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • salt and pepper


  1. Boil a large pot of water (approximate here)
  2. Take a sautee pan, and sautee the garlic and ginger (enough ginger to line the pan) in olive oil and soy sauce, until garlic is browned and ginger, she says “I don’t know what happens to the ginger – but by the time the garlic is browned, the ginger is ready.”
  3. Then, once water is boiling, and the “stuff has sauteed, you’re gonna take a tong full of bok choy” (when asked what is a tong – Marnee flaps her fingers together) and “blanche it” – until the bok choy is bright green. Marnee says 2-3 seconds to be exact. :>)
  4. Now, “you take it out – and put it into the pan with garlic & ginger,” and on a very low heat, mix it all together – stirring gently making sure bok choy is coated in the ginger, garlic and soy sauce.
  5. Remove and set aside
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for next “tong full” of bok choy – adding ginger & garlic as needed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Asian, sides, Veggies