Stir-Fried Snow Peas and Tofu Skins
25 minutes, not including soaking time
In this vegan stir-fry, the tofu skins act as “noodles.” They end up doing double duty as a full-flavored protein and starch, to great effect.
10 ounces fresh tofu skins (see note below), or 6 ounces dried
5 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon red chile flakes, or to taste
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound snow peas, trimmed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Sesame seeds, for garnish
1. If you’re using fresh tofu skins, put them in a bowl of tap water and carefully unfold the layers. (It’s okay if they tear in places.) If you’re using dried tofu skins, soak them in warm water until they are just pliable, 10 to 30 minutes. (Check them often so they don’t get soggy.) Carefully roll the fresh
or dried sheets into a tube and cut crosswise into ribbons about 2 inches wide to make “noodles.”
2. Put a large skillet over high heat. When it’s hot, add 4 tablespoons oil, swirl, then scatter the tofu skins around the pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they release easily from the pan and are golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side. Add the red chile flakes, stir once, then transfer to a plate.
3. Return the skillet to high heat, and add the remaining tablespoon oil along with the onion, ginger, and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the snow peas and cook, stirring constantly, until crisp-tender and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Return the tofu skins to the pan along with 1 ⁄ 4 cup water and the soy sauce and toss to coat. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Unpacking Tofu Skins
These workhorses are sheets of thickened soy milk, skimmed off the top of tofu during processing. They come fresh, frozen, and dried. Sometimes fresh or frozen skins are a joy to work with and sometimes they take some finesse. (Dried skins are a good though utterly different substitute). Since it’s hard to know exactly how the fresh kind have been handled, you might need to put the whole bundle in a bowl of water to unroll them in one piece. Once you’ve got them spread out and are ready to work, keep them covered with a damp towel.