Is there anything Joy of Cooking can’t do? Obviously the answer to this question is a firm yes. Take, for example, the fact that my version of this book, published a mere 6 years ago, contains only two recipes calling for tofu as an ingredient.

With 4000 recipes, this cooking bible is the first place I look for anything vaguely “American” or “French.” Sure, roughly four recipes in the entire book are vegan, but veganizing such devastatingly classic recipes is, for me, half the joy of cooking.*

I used to live around the corner from a super low-key Chinese take-out place. It was open until 3AM and an order of General Tso’s tofu big enough for two meals set you back a measly $3.25. Sure it was shitty, but it was chewy and hot and sweet and the most satisfying thing anyone has ever dreamt up whilst slightly inebriated at 2:45 in the morning.

I no longer live in Philly and I don’t drink anymore, but my frequent cravings for Chinese food persist. One evening, with my Internet connection failing miserably, I realized that somehow the dozen cookbooks I own contain roughly zero recipes for broccoli, much less the steamed-broccoli-delicately-coated-in-sweet-garlicky-sauce of my heart’s desire. I broke down. I cracked open Joy of Cooking.

I located “Chinese Cuisine” in the index. “Broccoli Stirfry,” read the fourth line down, unenthusiastically. But at that point I was hungry enough to try pretty much anything, so I defeatedly started pulling ingredients out of the fridge and got to work. I mean, what the heck, at least I’d get a good story out of it, right? It couldn’t possibly be any worse than that (first and last!) time I ate “Chinese food” in Iowa.

Well, uh. Can I tell you something? I must have some sort of culinary guardian demon on my shoulder, because that recipe was not just surprisingly good for the cookbook whence it came. It straight-up ruled. It makes a mild dish, so know that before you go into it. But I find it really delicious and satisfying, and I make it kind of a lot these days. It also makes great leftovers.

4.8 from 5 reviews
Garlic Broccoli Stirfry
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Chinese
  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 2 cups frozen tofu chunks, thawed
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ⅓ c rice wine
  • 3 Tbsp tamari
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 2" fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  1. In a skillet over high heat, fry tofu in peanut oil, seasoning with tamari, until browned. Set aside.
  2. Steam broccoli until it's bright green and tender. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together water and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, stir together cooking wine, tamari, sugar and sesame oil. Set aside.
  5. Heat peanut oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat.
  6. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  7. Add broccoli and tofu; toss until coated with oil.
  8. Pour wine mixture down side of pan and toss again.
  9. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for another 30 seconds.
  10. Stir the cornstarch mixture again until smooth and add to wok, stirring to combine.
  11. Cook, uncovered, another 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens.
  12. Serve immediately, over rice or alone.
I always keep some cubed frozen tofu in the freezer (this changes its texture and renders it sturdier), but this dish is just as good if you leave it out.