By Dianne Bunis
Celebrate the Chinese new year with an Asian dish that's healthier than take-out with less sodium and no MSG. The Year of the Snake signifies steady progress and attention to detail. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve! Not if you have this:
Soy ginger tofu with snow peas and bok choy
1 bunch scallions, whites and greens separated, greens cut into 2-inch lengths and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp. rice vinegar
Canola oil for pan
1 package (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu cubed, drained
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head bok choy, trimmed and sliced thin
4 ounces snow peas, trimmed, halved on the bias
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
1 cup brown or white rice, according to package plus 1/4 water water, so rice is moist and sticky when done.
In a medium saucepan, combine scallion whites, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar and 8 cups of water, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook broth for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a grill pan and heat over medium-high. Slice tofu in half, season with salt and pepper and add to hot pan, turning to grill all sides, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from pan.
Discard solids from broth and add soy sauce. Add spinach and snow peas. Cook for five to six minutes so peas are tender yet crisp. Top with red pepper flakes.
To serve, place cooked rice in a bowl, spoon broth and top with tofu, scallion greens and sprinkle seeds.