The Ultimate Vegetable Stir-Fry Tower
Pea Sprouts, Shiitake, Soybean Sprouts, Pickled Japanese Cucumber & Red Jalapeño
Chinese Chives, Tofu, Ginger, Cilantro
Over an Organic Short Grain Rice Timbale
With Three Vibrant Sauces: Cilantro Juice, Chile Oil, Miso Sauce
Another Sublime Dish Inspired by Charlie Trotter
“The recipes… are only a guide. You can use any or all of a recipe, deviate wherever you like, or indeed substitute ingredients completely if it suits your desires. In fact, you may want to forget about the recipe specifics and use the photographs alone as your inspiration,” penned Charlie Trotter in 1994. Thank you, Chef! No wonder you are my hero. Your words written 17 years ago perfectly describe my cooking style and blog: where the image is meant to titillate and inspire the cook!
Cilantro Juice Recipe
Start with the equivalent of 2 c. packed fresh cilantro.
Blanch in salted boiling water for 15 seconds.
Place in an ice bath to cool.
Squeeze out excess water.
Purée in a food processor for 3 to 4 minutes
with 3 T. water and 2 T. each grapeseed oil and olive oil.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Save the paste for another use (we made green rice).
Season the cilantro juice with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Refrigerate the cilantro juice until ready to use.
Pickled Japanese Cucumber & Red Jalapeño
Japanese cucumbers can be identified by those distinctive bumps.
They do not need to be peeled or seeded. Slice on a bias about 1/4″ thick.
The pickled cucumbers and red jalapeño really add a refreshing zing to this stir-fry.
Charlie Trotter’s Pickling Juice Recipe:
- 1 c. water
- 1/2 c. rice vinegar
- 1/3 c. plus 2 T. sugar
- 2 T. kosher salt
- 1 whole clove
- 1 t. mustard seed
- 1 t. black peppercorns
- 1 t. chopped ginger root
- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, allowing the salt and sugar to dissolve. Cool and use as needed.
Place cucumber and jalapeño slices in a jar.
Add pickling juice and a little coarse sea salt.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Whisk 1 T. white miso with 3 T. pickling juice and 1/4 t. tamari. Set aside.
Cube one small block of firm tofu. Save the liquid from the tofu, add 2 T. tamari.
Marinate tofu in liquid for one hour in refrigerator.
Brown sliced shiitake in a small amount of sesame oil.
Add a bit more oil then add drained tofu, drained pickled cucumber & jalapeño, and 1 t. minced ginger.
Stir-fry for about 3 minutes.
Rough chop the soybean sprouts. Cut Chinese chives to about 2″ long.
Add soybean sprouts, Chinese chives, pea sprouts and some chopped cilantro to the pan.
Stir-fry briefly, just until these vegetables begin to wilt. Season with sea salt and pepper.
Make a rice timbale by pressing hot cooked organic short grain rice into an oiled ramekin.
Invert the ramekin onto the serving platter.
Place a ring mold or open tube atop the rice. Using tongs, fill the mold with some of the stir-fry. Use the tongs to compress the stir-fry. Remarkably, with all the long shoots and stems, the stir-fry becomes a tangled mess and actually stays together pretty well! Remove the mold by lifting slowly.
Drizzle miso sauce over the stir-fry and around the plate.
Ladle small puddles of cilantro juice around the timbale, then drizzle piquant chile oil.
With deepest gratitude for the inspiration and guidance, thank you, Chef!
More cooking Charlie Trotter’s Vegetables on Taste With The Eyes:
Napoleon of Portobella & Turnip, Ginger-Soy-Mirin Sauce
Black-Eyed Peas with Haricots Verts, Baby Spinach, White Potatoes and Spicy Curry Emulsion
Grilled King Trumpets & Shishito Peppers, Spinach & Rosemary Roasted Soybeans, Tomato Water