Monday, October 01, 2012

Recipe for Sriracha-Spiced Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper, and Thai Basil

Sriracha-Spiced Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper, and Thai Basil
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.)

Put the tofu in a colander and let it drain for at least 10 minutes.

Then press the tofu between two layers of paper towel to press out even more of the water.

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.)

I used smallish Ichiban Japanese eggplant from my garden, which are perfect for stir-fries.

Cut the eggplant into slightly diagonal slices about an inch thick.

Cut the red bell pepper into long thin strips.

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.

Add another tablespoon of oil as needed, then add the eggplant and stir-fry four minutes.  When it's starting to soften and brown add the red pepper strips and cook about 2 minutes more.

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.

Add the Thai basil and/or sliced green onions and cook about one minute more.  Serve hot.

Sriracha-Spiced Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper, and Thai Basil
(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)

Sauce Ingredients:
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.

Printer Friendly Recipe
South Beach Suggestions:
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. 

Nutritional Information?
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.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
counter customizable free hit
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. I am a HUGE fan of tofu and of stir fries in general so this spicy dish definitely appeals to me!

  2. This is my kind of meal! Love it!

  3. Thanks Joanne. Really loved this!

    Maria, love making stir-fries on the Thermador!

  4. That is just the way I like my tofu, with a lovely golden brown crust on it. Wonderful dish, Kalyn!

  5. I love tofu in stir-fries, and I love Sriracha in just about anything. The tofu absorbs all of those lovely flavors, so even people who say they don't love tofu should love this. PS: gorgeous eggplant. I am jealous of your garden.

  6. Thanks Lydia. I just wish you lived next door and I would keep you supplied with garden produce!

  7. Kalyn, this looks terrific! Perfect recipe for me. Combine with some brown rice and I've got a couple of meals!

  8. Caron, so glad you like it (and thanks for the pin!)

  9. I love this Kalyn! And I have both Japanese eggplant and a ton of Thai basil growing in the garden. Don't you love Thai basil? It's such a vigorous and pretty plant with its purple flowers. I think I may plant it next year again, but just in the landscaping, not the garden.

  10. Thanks Elise. I do love all these ingredients. Great idea to plant Thai basil with the flowers! It's so pretty it's almost wasted in the garden.

  11. These are some of my favorite flavors - I am bookmarking this to make next week Kalyn!

  12. Kalyn - this reminds me of dish I had at a local Thai restaurant. The color of your eggplant is just brilliant inside and out!

  13. Oh Kalyn, this is fantastic! I have a bunch of eggplant in my fridge that I've been unsure of how to just made my decision easy! I don't have thai basil but plenty of regular think it's ok to substitute?

  14. Thanks Jeanette. Wish I could give you some of my eggplant!

    Kelley, regular basil will be fine (should have said that in the recipe; will edit!) If you're making this for kids, you might use even less than 1 T of Sriracha.

  15. Thanks for the inspiration! No Japanese eggplant or Thai basil available in my Nordic home country but this turned out great with just the basic ingredients and the sauce.

  16. Veracious, so glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Enjoyed this one, thanks! I was worried the aubergine (I used baby ones) would come out greasy, but they were actually OK - heat and a short time cooking I suppose.

    It could have taken more heat personally for me than the 1 tbsp I put in. Also, it came out rather salty - much less soy, much more lime next time, I think.

  18. John, glad you liked it and by all means, adjust the sauce to your personal preferences!

  19. This looks awesome! Do you think regular eggplant would work ok? I have one in my refrigerator just waiting for me to use it :) Should I salt it or anything? Thanks for the great recipes!!

  20. Tracy I haven't stir-fried with larger eggplant so I'm not sure if it needs to be salted, but I'm guessing not since the high heat of the stir fry will draw out the moisture. Other than that, I'm sure it will work.

  21. This is an amazing recipe! Absolutely wonderful, both in appearance and taste! I made it 2 nights ago, then repeated again last night. I used small, regular eggplants from the farmers' market, yellow bell peppers, and fresh basil (Italian, not Thai) from my garden. Couldn't believe how visually beautiful it was, and how tasty! In fact, if I find eggplant at the market tomorrow, I may make it again this weekend. Kalyn, thanks!

  22. This looks BEAUTIFUL!! Those are my favorite eggplants to cook with and I am so happy to find them easily at this little local produce store that has them all the time. I am always trying to cook more tofu dishes, one of those foods I don't cook often enough. I could eat this in a heart beat, and a lot of it :)

  23. Grace, so glad you enjoyed it!

    Aggie, loving eggplant like this here. Hope you will try this!

  24. I tried it yesterday and it was delicious. The way eggplant sucked in the hot sause is amazing. Next time I will leave the tofu though, just veggies must be even better. Thanks for the recipe!

  25. Thank you! We made this tonight and it got 100% approval from everyone at the table. Our family is a big fan of this dish at restaurants and it's great to be able to make a delicious version at home.

  26. Vanessa, so glad you all enjoyed it.

  27. This was SO good, even without the tofu. I was looking for a side dish to go with fish, and thought "Hmmm - guess I could leave out the tofu". So I did. Couldn't find Japanese eggplant, so used regular, peeled/cubed it/salted it for about half an hour, then riinsed quickly and rolled in paper towel. All other ingredients and instructions I followed. Big hit! Will definitely do this again! Thanks.

  28. Carol, so glad you enjoyed it. And love it when people adapt the recipes to use whatever ingredients they prefer!


I'm so happy you're taking the time to comment on Kalyn's Kitchen! I love hearing from people who stop by, especially if you're sharing feedback or asking questions about a recipe I've posted here.

I've recently changed my comment settings so people can comment without signing in, but you will need to check the box to show you're a live person, and comments on older posts won't show up until I publish them. Thanks for understanding!

And if you really like the recipe, Pins, Shares, Tweets, and Yums are always appreciated!

Blogging tips