Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stir-Fried Tofu Recipe with Scallions, Garlic, Ginger, and Soy Sauce

Stir-Fried Tofu
I've enjoyed tofu many times when I've had it in restaurants, but when I wrote a post recently for BlogHer.com about Tackling Tofu, I confessed I'd never cooked it at home. I've been determined to try it though, and last weekend I made this delicious stir-fried tofu using my new wok, and a recipe I adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, a book I just couldn't resist at Costco! Tofu is so fantastically South Beach Diet friendly, and this was so delicious, I can see there will be a lot more tofu dishes in my future.

Besides being diet-friendly, tofu is also wonderfully high in calcium. This calcium-rich dish is for Susan of Food Blogga who courageously shared that she has osteoporosis and since May is National Osteoporosis and Awareness Month, she's hosting a blog event to raise awareness about the disease. Along with this entry, I'm sending all my best wishes to Susan, who I'm looking forward to meeting!

I used extra-firm organic tofu for this dish, which worked out perfectly. There are three main types of tofu, and choosing the right kind is important. I drained my tofu in a colander and then cut it into slices and pressed each slice with a paper towel to squeeze out as much water as I could. If more experienced tofu cooks want to offer tips and advice in the comments, I'll be happy to get them!

Stir-Fried Tofu with Scallions, Garlic, Ginger, and Soy Sauce
(Makes 2-4 servings, depending on what else you serve with it. Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.)

14 oz. extra firm organic tofu
2 T peanut oil (use more or less, depending on your pan)
2 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 tsp. finely grated ginger root
1 cup scallions, sliced into 2 inch pieces (This is about 1 bunch green onions. Keep white parts separate from green parts. I used less than this, but only because I didn't have enough.)
3 T chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 1/2 T soy sauce (I used Tamari)
1 tsp. black sesame seeds (optional)

(If you're not familiar with Chinese cooking, you may want to read the basic rules for stir-frying. For maximum flavor with tofu, I cut the garlic and ginger much smaller and left it in the finished dish.)

Remove tofu from package and drain in a colander in the sink for a few minutes. Then cut tofu into slices about 3/4 - 1 inch thick. Put each slice between two paper towels and press down on it so most of the liquid is absorbed into the towel, then cut tofu into square cubes.

Put wok or heavy frying pan on stove and preheat pan until it feels hot when you hold your hand over it. Add oil and heat until shimmering. Then add garlic and ginger, cook about 10 seconds, and quickly add tofu cubes and white pieces of green onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is quite browned. (Mark Bittman says a couple of minutes, but I cooked it about 7 minutes to get the tofu as brown as you see in the photo.)

When tofu is well browned, add the stock and cook, stirring, until it is mostly evaporated. Add the green parts of green onions and cook about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce and stir to distribute. Turn off heat, put tofu and onions on a serving plate and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. (The sesame seeds will be more flavorful if you toast them for 1-2 minutes in a dry pan, but it's not essential.) Serve hot.

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South Beach Diet and Low-Glycemic Suggestions:
Served without rice, this would be a great dish for phase one of the South Beach Diet or other low glycemic eating plans. With rice it would be phase 2 or 3. For any phase, this would taste great with Roasted Broccoli with Soy Sauce and Sesame Seeds or Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint.

More Delicious Ways to Cook Tofu:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Grilled Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen, cooked and posted by Rand
Tackling Tofu and 10 Delicious Tofu Recipes from BlogHer
Carmelized Tofu from 101 Cookbooks
Strawberry Beet Green Salad with Roasted Tofu from Eating Out Loud
Marinated Tofu Stir-Fry from What Geeks Eat
Tofu Parmigiana from Chick in the Kitchen
Montreal Grilled Tofu Wraps from The Perfect Pantry
Tofu Skin Noodles with Spicy Peanut-Sesame Sauce and Ma Po Tofu from Off The Broiler
Tofu in Coconut Sauce with Ginger and Lemongrass from Pinch My Salt
Sauteed Tofu with Agretti and Cherry Tomatoes from Lucullian Delights 

Want even more tofu recipes?
I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.counter customizable free hit

43 comments:

  1. Congratulations on losing your tofu virginity! Tofu is a wonderful, flexible ingredient, and I hope you'll experiment with lots of ways to enjoy it.

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  2. i love how this dish looks. beautiful.

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  3. omg this looks fantastic!!! How I wish to steal a bite, hehe...

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  4. i love tofu! you'll get addicted ^_^

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  5. I hope you continue experimenting with tofu because I want to learn more about it. I used to cook with it a bunch when I was vegetarian but I was never able to achieve what I wanted at home. I recently talked to a guy at work about cooking tofu and he said he wife microwaves it first? Ever heard of that?

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  6. Woo-hoo! Your tofu looks fabulous, Kalyn! As someone who eats a lot of tofu, I'd say you definitely chose the best type--the extra firm maintains its shape so well and is perfect for all types of stir-fries, sandwiches, soups, and salads. You might like slicing it into "steaks" and marinating it in your favorite marinade/dressing then grilling it. I also love to saute it and add it to salads, soups, and grain dishes for extra calcium and protein.

    Heartfelt thanks for entering Beautiful Bones. You've tackled the tofu beast and have won it over deliciously! :)

    Cheers,
    Susan

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  7. Thanks everyone for the nice comments about my first tofu experiment. Let's all cheer for Mark Bittman, since it's his recipe. Katerine, I haven't heard of microwaving the tofu, but have heard of freezing it first. Interesting idea though.

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  8. I love tofu and you've made it shine in this recipe! I've recently started roasting tofu which is my new favorite way to prepare it.

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  9. Freezing tofu will change the texture of the tofu, and it will taste very differently. Depending on your dish that you prepare, it may not be what you want to do. We use it mainly in Chinese hot-pot, side by side with the unfrozen ones. You may want to experiment with it and invent new dishes!

    I enjoy very much reading your blog. It is one of my favorite.

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  10. Thanks Allen. Can't wait to experiment with it more.

    jya-syin, thanks for the info about freezing tofu. Sounds like it would be fun to try. Thanks for the nice words about the blog too.

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  11. Looks good Kalyn. I don't use extra-firm as it has more calories than plain firm. And I usually use tofu to replace the cheese in Indian dishes like Saag Paneer. Now that you like cooking tofu, I can't wait to see you use it in more ethnic recipes!

    Love you recipes and pictures!

    --Rhapsody

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  12. Wow, Kalyn, your dish looks amazing. I like grilled and stir-fried tofu but have never made it. I should follow your example and just take the jump.

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  13. Our food co-op makes a legendary kung pao tofu which is spicy and peanutty. They freeze the tofu to dry it out and change the texture...it becomes denser, chewier, not like meat but not like tofu either...it is addicting. Thanks for the linky love.

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  14. Kalyn, is that really your first attempt at cooking tofu? It looks so fabulous! Tofu, stir fried like that, is one of my favourite ways of eating it. I'm thinking I might have to change tonight's dinner plans, after seeing this post :)

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  15. Obviously I need to try harder. Your tofu is so picture perfect Kalyn! Really impressive! And you make it sound even better than it looks and I had an intake of breath when I opened this one!

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  16. Anonymous, didn't know that, but even the extra firm seemed pretty low in calories.

    Simona, Vanessa, Y and Tanna, this was totally beginner's luck, plus the new wok really makes a difference. I think I'd like to try freezing the tofu too, sounds interesting.

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  17. Wonderful post! I'm so pleased to see non-vegetarians talking positively about tofu :)

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  18. K~ when I cook with tofu, I put it in a colander over a bowl, with another bowl/plate and a rock or something heavy to weigh it down a few hours before I will be cooking. I try to put the 'cut' side down rather than the 'pressed' side so the water can drain easily. Also using peanut oil to brown it, is the key, I never could get it to brown until I read Deborah Madison Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone...she rocks with tofu recipes.. I am cooking this recipe tomorrow night, thanks for the lovely pic..so inviting.

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  19. lizykat, good to know. I just instinctively chose peanut oil, since I love it for stir-frying, and it did work very well.

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  20. Tofu is often a hard sell at home, but this looks like a delicious way to work it into my family's diet. I find that my family also likes smoked tofu which has a very different texture and more flavor.

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  21. Deborah, thanks for the tip. I'll definitely look for the smoked tofu.

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  22. I've had a couple of fried tofu recipes and they weren't bad. I'll have to try this as it sounds yummy, even for tofu :)

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  23. This looks delicious! I'm still exploring the wonderful world of tofu also and am growing more fond of it all the time. Thanks for helping out tofu in the PR department by posting such a great looking dish.

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  24. Once you've pressed the water out of the tofu, try tossing it in a little cornstarch prior to cooking it. The cornstarch helps make a crispier texture.

    I am really excited about tofu as well, and enjoy exploring options for it. Your recipe looks delicious!

    And for something really interesting to use tofu in, try this recipe

    http://cooknkate.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/mmmmmpudding/

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  25. Mrs. L, I recommend it!

    Lisa, you're welcome. I'm going to keep experimenting too.

    Cooknkate, I'm afraid the cornstarch would make it not suitable for South Beach, so that won't work for me. Thanks for the thought though.

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  26. I made this tonight, very tasty, I did add some Chinese 5 spice and that seemed to work well with it.

    I love the blog and recipes Kayla!

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  27. Shane, I think 5-Spice powder sounds great in this!

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  28. Thanks Kalyn for another picture perfect recipe. I just made this last night for my family and everyone loved it! Especially my macaroni and cheese/quesidilla obsessed daughter- we were all shocked! Something she loved with no cheese in it!
    I LOVE your website and always look forward to your beautiful new recipes. Thanks for all the work you put into this blog - you make so many people more creative in the kitchen because of it!

    My only critique of this fabulous blog is directed to the readers! I would love to read your remarks after actually trying the recipes, what changes you made, how you liked it, etc.

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  29. Anonymous, so glad you liked the recipe (and especially that it was good for the whole family!) And I agree, love to get feedback from people about how they use the recipes.

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  30. This was wonderful. The best stir-fried tofu I've ever made. I used spring onions instead of scallions for a little extra bite and added some sumac along with the sesame seeds (I only had white sesame seeds, unfortunately). Instead of rice, I served it with lettuce leaves which we wrapped around the tofu. What delicious fun!

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  31. hi! this was my first tofu dish and it was fantastic! i used an onion instead of scallions because that's all i had on hand (and i confess: i've never used scallions before, i always just replace them with onions) anyway, thank you for the great recipe and countless others i've found and used:)

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  32. FoodJen, how fun that my first tofu dish was also your first time cooking tofu. Glad you liked it!

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  33. YUM!!! I love tofu but almost never make it myself. I tried this recipe for dinner tonight and wow was it delicious! Thanks for sharing it!

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  34. Arica, you're welcome! Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it.

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  35. I have a toddler who is allergic to peanut, any suggestions for replacing the peanut oil? I just cooked my first tofu dish this past week, and I AM ADDICTED!!! I am on the search for more recipes and yours sounds DELISH!!!!

    thank you!

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  36. You can use any high smoke point oil like canola or grapeseed oil instead of peanut oil. Enjoy!

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  37. I made this for dinner and paired it with soba cooked in vegetable stock. Even my non-veg fiance scarfed it! It was so delicious that I'm considering making it again tomorrow night!

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  38. Ashlie, so glad you liked it.

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  39. This tofu looks tasty! I just wanted to let you know I featured this recipe on Five Friday Finds - please grab a featured button from this week's 5 Friday Finds! (http://morselsoflife.blogspot.com/2011/07/five-friday-finds_29.html)

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  40. Thanks, always appreciate it when a blog features one of my recipes.

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  41. I tried this and it was delicious! I couldn't find extra-firm tofu, so my tofu crumbled up a bit, but everything else worked out really well. I added just a tiny bit of sesame oil to my dish (I can't resist the taste!) and gobbled it all up. Thanks for a great recipe - I'll be doing this again!

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  42. Sesame oil sounds like a great addition!

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  43. I'm a little late on this, but a great way to get tofu ready to cook with is to cut the block in half lengthwise and place it in between two paper towel lined cookie sheets or cutting boards. Place something heavy on top to press the tofu and squeeze out liquid. Leave it for 20 minutes or so. Also, I've found that cooking spray is one of the better ways to avoid tofu sticking while cooking it.

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible. Sometimes I'm answering by iPhone, so my replies may be short!

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