This is a delicious and spicy stir-fry redolent with garlic and fresh basil. Serve it with steamed jasmine rice and sweet-hot Thai chile sauce.
1 lb. kabocha pumpkin
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons crushed yellow bean sauce (“tao jiew dam,” Healthy Boy Brand, available at Asian markets)
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons stock (vegetable or chicken)
19 ounces firm tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup loosely packed Thai basil or Italian basil
Scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers from the pumpkin. With a sharp, heavy knife or cleaver, chop it into quarters. Cut off peel of pumpkin and slice the pumpkin into thin, bite-size pieces.
Assemble all stir-fry ingredients.
Set a wok (or a large, wide sauté pan) over medium-high heat. When wok or skillet is very hot, add the oil. Rotate the wok to coat the sides with oil. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the garlic and stir-fry briefly, just until golden and aromatic.
Add the pumpkin and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
Add the yellow bean sauce and brown sugar, and stir-fry until blended, about 1 minute.
Add the white pepper and stock and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Add the tofu and stir-fry until it is heated through, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Toss in the basil leaves and cook for a few seconds, just until the basil begins to wilt.
YIELD: 2-4 servings
SOURCE: True Thai: The Modern Art of Thai Cooking by Victor Sodsook.