Vegetable Stirfry Wearing a Hat

This is a super quick stirfry using vegetables that are in most cook’s refrigerators – you could also substitute whatever veggies you have on hand. A mandolin is a great gadget to have on hand for all the matchstick-sized strips you’ll need to cut, but you can also do it by hand – aim for 1/8 x 1/8 x 1.5″ pieces.

For the pressed beancurd, we like to use the five-spice flavored, which adds a little depth of flavor, but you could use another variety. Baked tofu is a good substitute and often comes in five-spice flavor – look for it in the refrigerated Asian foods or vegetarian meat substitutes section of conventional grocery stores. The beancurd can also be omitted entirely.

The “hat” is made of an omelet – it can be omitted if you’re in a hurry or are vegan, but it makes a nice presentation and adds some protein to a vegetarian meal.

This can be served with rice or with Mandarin pancakes (used for mooshu dishes and Peking duck), for which I’ll post the recipe another day.


  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 scallion, cut into 1/8″ slices on the diagonal or 1/4 c Chinese chives, cut into 1.5″ lengths
  • 1 square of pressed beancurd or baked tofu, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 T fermented black beans, or to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste

“the hat”:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 T oil


  1. Whisk the eggs, 1/4 tsp salt, and white pepper in a bowl, set aside.
  2. Heat 1 T oil in the wok over high heat until it shimmers. Explode the garlic and scallion until fragrant.
  3. Add the tofu and remaining vegtables – if the pan gets too crowded, they will steam instead of stirfrying, so you might want to do this in 2 batches, depending on the size of your wok. Stirfry 2 m or until vegetables are crisp-tender and still retain their bright colors.
  4. Add the fermented black beans to taste, stir to combine well, then adjust seasoning with salt (you may not need any). Mound on a serving plate.
  5. Heat 1 T oil in a saute pan or skillet (well-seasoned cast iron is best, but you can use nonstick instead) over medium high heat.
  6. Add the egg mixture, tipping the pan to make a thin round omelet. Turn down the heat to medium low.
  7. As soon as the eggs are set enough to turn, flip carefully, cook a few seconds, then slide it onto the vegetable mound on the plate. Did your omelet fall apart? No worries – slide it onto a cutting board, slice it thinly, and add to the top of your vegetables anyway!

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