When my kids were little, I had to sneak in the vegetables into the dishes I cooked like this Filipino Togue Guisado- Mung Bean Sprouts with Tofu. My sons are now grown ups and are reading this. On the upside, they’ve grown up to be healthy adults who go out and buy vegetables on their own. My sons now cook vegetable dishes for themselves then send me text messages with photos of what they cooked. My job is done. I succeeded in feeding them vegetables and made them love it in the process.
One of the mainstay dishes at home has always been a platter of stir fried mung beans with tofu. It can go well as a side dish. Or it can stand alone on its own.
I am not a nutritionist so I will forego the details of nutrition facts for this one. It’s enough to say that mung bean sprouts or ‘togue’ (say ‘toh-geh’) as Filipinos call it are packed with protein and nutrients. Mung bean sprouts are an edible sprout, that are crisp and nutty-tasting. When bought fresh, they have a slippery, stringy texture. I found it best to cook mung bean sprouts the same day I bought them, or a day or two after, at the latest. The flavors are freshest the same day they’re bought from the markets.
The addition of tofu to any dish has always been delightful to my taste buds. It is also serves as a good extender to the dish, especially if I there’s a lot of family coming to dinner. I buy the tofu cakes labeled ‘extra firm’. The firmer the tofu cake, the easier it is to handle when cooking. I love the sheer milky white appearance of a rectangle cake. The silky soft texture is enchanting to work with. I enjoy seeing how the tofu cake quivers on the the cooking spoon as I slowly put it into the sizzling hot skillet to firm up.
The pure, bland tofu cubes are a good backdrop to the sweet-savory flavors of hoisin sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. Within minutes the dish is cooked. Gather the kids around the table and serve this with mounds of steaming white jasmine rice. The simplest ingredients always make the best go-to weeknight meals. One more thing. I never told my children these were vegetables. I simply called out “dinner is ready!”
Filipino Togue Guisado - Mung Bean Sprouts with Tofu
- 1 cake (400 gm) extra firm tofu drained
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs to coat tofu
- 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil divided, use half for tofu pan fry, rest for saute
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 stalks scallion whites chopped
- 1 whole large tomato chopped
- 1 whole large potato peeled, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 pound beef sirloin or tenderloin sliced in 1-inch strips
- 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 Tablespoon xiao xing rice wine
- 1 cup vegetable, chicken or beef broth soup stock
- 1 whole red bell pepper seeded, white membrane removed, sliced in 2-inch strips
- 3 cups mung bean sprouts washed thoroughly
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- for serving boiled white jasmine rice
- 1/2 cup straw mushrooms sliced in strips (optional in place of beef) or use button mushrooms
- Wash the mung bean sprouts well. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Pan fry the tofu first. Drain the liquid from the whole tofu cake. Roll the tofu cake in bread crumbs till it is covered all over. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the cooking oil. When the oil is hot in about 2 to 3 minutes, add the whole tofu cake covered in bread crumbs. Brown each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn only once and try not to touch it too often or tofu will crumble. When tofu cake is brown, drain on paper towels or parchment paper to remove excess oil. Cut into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
- To stir-fry bean sprouts: Use the same large skillet. Discard excess cooking oil and leave only a tablespoon for the saute. After 1 to 2 minutes, when oil is hot enough, saute the garlic, ginger,scallions, tomatoes, beef strips and potato cubes.
- Add the hoisin sauce, rice wine and soup stock. Let the liquid simmer and the meat and vegetables cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the peppers and the mung bean sprouts. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Coat the mung bean sprouts with the liquid in the skillet while mixing all the ingredients. Season with sesame oil, salt and black pepper.
- Add the cubed tofu and gently mix into the rest of the vegetable saute. Serve with boiled jasmine white rice.
- Cook’s comments: for an all-vegetable meal, omit the beef strips and substitute with sliced mushrooms.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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