Basic Stir-Fry

It's been too long! The semester started, and there are other excuses, but we're returning for good and that's what counts.

We'd guess that stir-fry is among the most popular dishes that college students attempt to cook, along with omlettes and grilled cheese. And though it's pretty easy to put a decent stir-fry together, putting together a PERFECT one is a trickier task. We've sampled many attempts by friends, some that manage to include both raw and overcooked vegetables simultaneously. Soy sauce alone does not constitute proper seasoning. We didn't want to mess around with experimentation; we wanted a basic stir-fry with perfect flavoring and consistency. For technique, we consulted Epicurious, and we improvised only minimally by adding more of our favorite flavorings: Chinese five spice and ginger.

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese five spice
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed chili powder
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon flour

1 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu (drained, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, patted dry)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps quartered
8 ounces sugar snap peas, edges cut off
1/2 onion, sliced
2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

Wisk together the ingredients for the marinade, add tofu. Let sit to marinade for up to 30 minutes. Put 1 tbsp vegetable oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add tofu and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer tofu to plate. Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan, add onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes. If you like, you can add a bit more soy sauce and sesame oil. Add sugar snap peas and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add ginger; stir-fry 30 seconds. Return tofu to pan and drizzle reserved marinade mixture over. Stir-fry until marinade thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.