This dish came about as I was fiddling with two different recipes over the weekend. I made some roasted tofu last night, inspired by a tofu technique from Chow Vegan which uses paprika to give the tofu a striking red coating. The tofu cubes are oven roasted on parchment paper, which is helpful in two ways: first, the spice mixture tends to stick better to the tofu rather than the baking dish. Second, by using a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper instead of a smaller baking dish, there's more space between each tofu cube, which helped them brown nicely. (tofu recipe below)
I hadn't cooked long beans (a.k.a. yard long beans) before, but picked some up at Fargo's Asian and American Market. These long beans - close relatives of black-eyed peas, by the way - weren't quite a yard, but still pretty lanky. I cut them into thirds.
Sesame Long Beans
This recipe features all things sesame, at least in my kitchen, with dark sesame oil, tahini (sesame seed paste), and white and black sesame seeds for garnish.
10 to 12 long beans, ends trimmed and cut in thirds
1 tbsp. peanut oil or other vegetable oil
1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. tamari or other good quality soy sauce
1 tbsp. tahini
1/4 cup water, sake, or white wine (I used wine)
Black and white sesame seeds, 1 tsp. each
Over high heat, stir fry the beans in the oil (you can get by with less - I tend to be generous with oil). Mix the sugar, tamari, tahini, and water or wine in a small bowl, and add to the beans after they begin to soften. They cook quickly, so this is just around 3 or 4 minutes on medium high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for another couple of minutes, just until the sauce thickens. Let cool a minute before serving, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
Roasted Five Spice Tofu
Paprika is the dominant spice here by quantity, but a little Chinese five spice powder goes a long way, and that's the flavor you'll notice. I made a slurry (for lack of a better term...slurries never sound very appetizing) with 1 tbsp. peanut oil, 1 tsp. tamari, 1 tbsp. Hungarian paprika, and 1/4 tsp. five spice powder. Coat the tofu cubes evenly in the oil-spice mix, and roast on parchment paper at 400 F for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
You can make your own five spice powder - it contains Sichuan peppercorns, anise, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel - but I use a prepared blend from the store.