A little taste of home

Haoran Wei decided to put on his chef’s hat and stir up some comfort foods with his host mother Lorraine.  Fortunately for us, they have decided to share the recipes! 
1. Spicy Garlic Soy Tofu

Prep time: 4 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Yield: 2 cups (500 mL)

8-10 dry red chilies
1 2-inch (5 cm) piece ginger
1 tbsp (15 mL) white sesame seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
7-8 cloves garlic, skin on
2 tbsp (30 mL) sesame oil
2 tsp (10 mL) soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) pepper powder
1 lb (450 g) extra-firm tofu, in bite-sized cubes
green onions, chopped

1. Place the chilies, ginger, sesame seeds, salt and garlic in blender and pulse 3 or 4 times, or until coarse paste forms.
2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-low heat; add spice paste. Fry for 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, pepper powder and tofu cubes.
3. Toss well to coat, cooking for about 2 minutes or until tofu turns slightly golden and crispy.
4. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Serve with steamed white basmati rice or Rice vermicelli noodles

2. Rice Vermicelli Vegetable Stir Fry

125 grams (4.5 oz) vermicelli rice noodles
1 tablespoon oil
1 shallot, minced or two green onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 large carrot
Half a head of cabbage
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
A pinch of salt
A pinch of sugar
  1. Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to the package directions. Normally soak them in warm water for 2 – 3 minutes then drain and rinse them under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Shred the cabbage and peel and slice the carrot into thin, noodle-like strips. A mandoline works well for this or use a sharp knife if you don’t have one.
  3. Heat a wok or large pan over high heat. Add the oil, shallot or white part of the green onion, garlic and ginger and fry, stirring for 10 – 20 seconds.
  4. Add the carrot and cabbage and stir fry until soft.
  5. Add the rice noodles, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar and green parts of the green onion, if using. Mix well and stir fry for a couple of minutes until warmed through.
And finally, a picture of the chef in action!