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Spicy Thai Tofu With Spinach, Basil, and Peanuts From 'Everyday Thai Cooking'

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[Photograph: Masano Kawana]

This simple stir-fry from Katie Chin's new cookbook, Everyday Thai Cooking, is a true Chin original. She brings together Thai staples—fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice, and peanuts—with easy-to-find ingredients—spinach, tofu, basil—for a spicy, crunchy, veggie-based main that comes together faster than you can cook a pot of rice. The tofu is transformed from its spongy, bland beginnings as it soaks up the umami-filled sauce.

Why I picked this recipe: I wanted to try out a vegetarian recipe in the book, and this one was definitely the most unique.

What worked: The mixture of oyster sauce and sherry were a great foil to the mineral-y spinach, and a reminder of the link between Chinese and Thai cuisine.

What didn't: I prefer to sear tofu in a nonstick skillet to allay any fear of sticking. Guessing that it would stick in only 1 tablespoon of oil, I seared it off separately before adding it back into the stir fry at the end.

Suggested tweaks: You could certainly sub out the tofu for any other protein, or else cut it out completely and add more spinach. For a truly vegetarian take, you could use a mixture of sweet soy sauce and regular soy sauce for the fish and oyster sauce.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Everyday Thai Cooking to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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