|Ultra flavorful Sriracha-Spiced Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper, and Thai Basil|
Since today is World Vegetarian Day as well as being Meatless Monday, it does seem fitting that I'm sharing a recipe that has tofu, don't you think? I know this Sriracha-Spiced Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper, and Thai Basil has two strikes against it for some of you with tofu and eggplant on the ingredients list, but trust me when I say it was so delicious that it tasted like it came from a restaurant. I'm not a vegetarian and probably never will be, but I do love all types of vegetables, and I really enjoy tofu when it's firm and cooked well-done so it's slightly chewy. Jake and I made this several times to get the sauce ingredients and the timing just right, and if you're never cooked tofu (or eggplant) I bet you'll love this if you give it a try.
Some people might argue this recipe isn't vegetarian because we used fish sauce in the cooking sauce. If you're vegan, or just don't want to use fish sauce, good Asian markets have a vegetarian fish sauce replacement, or you can make your own vegan fish sauce. But even easier, just replace the fish sauce with more soy sauce and the flavor will still be great. (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch. For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)
Cut the pressed tofu into pieces that are just over an inch square. (Dont' cut them too small or they are hard to keep turned when the tofu is browning.)
Thai basil is optional, but it adds a lot of flavor. Pull the basil leaves off the stems and wash in the salad spinner.
Mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce (or more soy sauce), lime juice, sweetener of your choice, and Sriracha to make the cooking sauce.
Heat the wok, then heat the oil, then add the garlic cloves and stir-fry just until they are fragrant. Then discard the garlic. This is called "seasoning the oil."
Add the tofu cubes to the seasoned oil and cook over medium-high heat, turning the tofu several times, until all the pieces are well-browned.
It took about 8-10 minutes to get all the tofu browned and we used tongs to turn the pieces of tofu. Remove tofu to a plate while you cook the vegetables.
Then add the tofu back to the wok, add the sauce, and cook 2-3 minutes, turning often, until all the tofu and vegetables are coated with sauce.
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)
14 oz. firm or extra firm tofu
2 T + 1 T peanut oil (or any high smoke-point oil)
6-8 whole garlic cloves
6 thin Asian eggplants, cut into 1 inch slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
3/4 cup Thai basil leaves (optional, but good; regular basil will also work here)
2 1/2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T fish sauce (I like Three Crabs Fish Sauce; for vegan version use soy sauce instead or make your own vegan fish sauce.)
1 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 T Stevia In the Raw Granulated Sweetener, Splenda, or Sugar (use Stevia or Splenda for South Beach Diet)
1-2 T Sriracha Rooster Sauce (1 tablespoon was fairly spicy so only use 2 tablespoons if you really want it hot)
Put tofu pieces in a colander placed in the sink and let them drain at least 10 minutes. While tofu drains, cut eggplant into slightly-diagonal slices about 1 inch thick, cut the red bell pepper into thin strips, thinly slice green onion, and wash Thai basil leaves (if using.) Mix sauce ingredients.
When the tofu has drained, put a double layer of paper towels on a cutting board, lay the tofu pieces on the paper towel, and put another double layer of paper towels on top of the tofu. Press down with the palm of your hand to press water out of the tofu so it's absorbed by the towels. Discard towels and cut tofu into squares slightly over 1 inch square. (Don't make them too small.)
Heat the dry wok over high heat for about one minute, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat one minutes more, then add the garlic cloves and cook just until they are fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. (Don't let the garlic brown.) Remove garlic and discard.
Add the tofu cubes, laying each on one of the larger sides so the tofu is in a single layer. Cook over medium-high heat, turning often, until the tofu is well-browned on all sides. (Pay close attention to keep the tofu turned so it doesn't burn. We use a pair of long-handled tongs for this.) Remove browned tofu to a plate while you cook the vegetables.
Add the other tablespoon of oil and heat for about a minute, then add the eggplant slices and stir-fry about 4 minutes, or just until the eggplant is just starting to soften and brown. Add red pepper strips and stir-fry about 2 minutes more. Add the browned tofu pieces back into the wok and cook for 1 minute to be sure the tofu is hot.
Add the sauce to the wok and cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes, stirring often so all the pieces of tofu and the vegetables get well-glazed with the sauce. Add the sliced green onions and Thai basil (if using) and cook about 1 minute more. Serve hot.
This will keep overnight in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave, but it's best when it's freshly made.
As long as you use Stevia or Splenda to sweeten the sauce, all ingredients in this dish would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Tofu is recommended for only 1/2 cup serving size for Phase One, so use portion control if you're eating this for Phase One.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Tasty Recipe Ideas with Tofu:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Stir-Fried Tofu with Scallions, Garlic, Ginger, and Soy Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen
Crispy Tofu Fingers from Inspired Taste
Baked Tofu with Soy and Sesame from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tofu Steak from La Fuji Mama
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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