Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tofu Stir Fry

Tofu Stir Fry for One
You might be like me.  You'll eat tofu in an Asian restaurant.  Or when a friend says, "You've got to try this!"  And you like it.  Really you do.   But when you look around the kitchen for dinner, you do not cast around for firm tofu or silken tofu or any tofu.  Time to rethink.  You, too, can make perfectly-cooked tofu so tasty and so fast, you'll want it over and over again.  This stir fry will show you how and the vegetables are almost infinitely changeable.  Note:   if you use brown rice, it takes 45 minutes to cook.  You can make a big batch the night before and use the rest for other things.  You'll have enough  stir fry for lunch or dinner the next day.

Where'd this come from?  I'm rethinking my cooking options lately and after reading Mark Bittman's article in the January, 2011 issue of BON APPETIT ("Mark Bittman Knows What's Best for You",) decided to give the vegan life a whirl for breakfast and lunch only.  Add to that I happened to read a 2008 tofu recipe by Melissa Clark, "Tofu Meets its Match" and  I was off to the store for a piece of tofu.  I had to look for it.  It's in the refrigerated section with things like soy crumbles and soy yogurt.  Read all about tofu here, especially about how to store it.  (It stores, covered in water changed daily, for up to a week in the frig.)

Tofu Stir Fry  serves 2 hungry people or you twice

  • 2 c cooked brown rice
  • 1 piece of firm tofu approx 2"x4"
  • 3t canola, peanut or any vegetable oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and pepper, a pinch each
  • 1T minced garlic
  • 1T minced fresh ginger (more if you love ginger)
  • 1 small onion, cut into large pieces
  • 1/2 c cabbage, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 c sweet red pepper, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 c green beans, cut into thirds
  • 1/2 c eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
  • Pinch dried red pepper flakes

Sauce:  (Whisk together first five ingredients and then whisk in cornstarch. Simpler sauce in Solo Cook's Note.)
  • 1/4 c soy sauce, plus more as a condiment for the finished dish (check for gluten free)
  • 1/2 t sesame oil
  • 1t honey
  • 2t sherry
  • 1/4 c white wine or chicken stock (gluten free)
  • 1/2-1 t cornstarch (depending on how thick you like your stir fry)
  1. Place tofu between several layers of paper towel and lay on a microwavable plate.  Place another plate on top of the tofu.  Microwave on high 2 minutes.  Remove from the oven, unwrap and gently press with another folded towel  to remove excess liquid.  Cut tofu into 1" square pieces.
  2. Heat 2t oil over medium-high heat in large skillet or wok.  Place tofu pieces in pan, leaving plenty of room so they brown well. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Let brown well (takes 2-4 minutes) on one side.  Do not move tofu until it's well-browned; let it sit undisturbed.  Turn, using tongs, and let brown on the other side.  Remove to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add other tsp of oil and heat pan to high.  Add ginger and garlic and immediately begin adding all the vegetables and red pepper, stirring as you go.  Continue to stir for about 2 minutes until vegetables are barely beginning to soften.
  4. Return tofu to the pan and stir.  Add sauce.  Let cook about a minute until stir fry is about as thick as you like it.  Serve over or beside rice.  Shake soy sauce over rice or over all if you like it.
Here it is in pictures:

*Solo Cook's Notes
  •   If you don't have all the ingredients for sauce, make a simpler sauce of soy sauce, a splash of water, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a tsp of cornstarch.  Flour is not a good thickener for stir fry and, if you don't have cornstarch, simply cook a little longer to thicken.  Your sauce will be much smoother, however, if you do use cornstarch.
  •  You can sub some chicken, pork or beef for the tofu

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,


  1. I love Bittman, so you're talking my language already. You're right Alyce, I have tofu in the fridge that I used for a recipe but it has yet to appear again. I simply just don't consider it as an option but must start thinking that way. Great recipe, healthy and heart smart.

  2. It was sooo good that I almost had it for dinner again. I saved it for today's lunch and before I heated it up, I found myself cooking more tofu to eat by itself dipped in soy sauce. Wow. Thanks for keeping up around my new blog, Cupcake!


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