Well, I’m home from Chile and feeling both jetlagged and ready for some lighter food. You think seafood is light, but not when it’s being used basically as a conduit for butter… Actually, truth be told the food in Chile is pretty healthy, but eating out all the time on holiday means you eat a lot more richly than at home, regardless of the cuisine.

So, for my first post back at home, I’m not making anything complex, just the slightly more rigorous food I am feeling in need of: a tofu and kale stir-fry with chilies and ginger. Now I’m not one for cleanses. Some of my more hippyish friends are inclined to really punitive diets when they’ve over-indulged but I really don’t believe in that approach. For one thing, I don’t think it’s especially good for your body to veer from one extreme to another and for another I don’t like to use food in that psychological way. It feels negative and unfeminist and just not for me. So…this dish isn’t at all a punishment for gluttony but rather a mix of some favourite flavours I didn’t get to eat for the last couple of weeks of travel.

Gingery kale and tofu stir fry

This simple dish mixes the softness of tofu with the bite of just-cooked kale, and has a Vietnamese influence in its gingery lime dressing. The trick is to be very generous with the ginger, especially the raw ginger added at the end with the lime. You could replace the kale with any other dark greens and the radish sprouts with whatever sprouts are available.

  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 1 bag of radish sprouts
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 4-5 spring onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • a generous thumb-sized chunk of ginger
  • 2-3 long red chilies
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce (or more)
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tbsps oil

Wash and shred the kale, dice the red pepper and thinly slice the spring onions and chilies. Chop and pound the garlic, ginger and lemongrass into a paste, leaving about a tablespoon of chopped ginger to the side. Cut the tofu into bite sized chunks.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the spice paste. Add the spring onions, chilies, and red peppers and cook for a minute. Add the kale in batches and wilt. Now add the palm sugar and fish sauce, and mix well to dissolve the sugar. Add the tofu and stir carefully.

When the kale and tofu are cooked and the sauce well mixed, turn off the heat and add the lime juice, remaining raw ginger, and sprouts and mix well.

Serve over rice – it goes especially well with Thai black rice or red rice.

Serves 2