Bok Choy recipe that didn’t work

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.

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