Actually Yummy Tofu Stir Fry

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Tofu Stir Fry

You don’t often overhear people saying, “Gee, I could go for a big piece of tofu right now.” In fact, I have never heard that. Ever. Maybe if you run in vegetarian or vegan circles you might hear something like it, but even then, do vegetarians love tofu or have they simply grown accustomed to it?

Tofu is usually the opposite of delicious. It has really no flavor and really no texture. it is bland in every sense of the word. So you will understand why this is titled, “actually yummy tofu stir fry” because by some miracle of cooking magic, this tofu is actually yummy. It is delicious! It is flavorful and has an awesome texture with a crispy coating and a creamy inside. Insane, I know!

The trick is two-fold. The first part is coating the tofu with cornstarch and pan frying it. This is the same trick that is used with sweet and sour or other Asian style crispy meat dishes. The second trick is to add a glaze to the tofu right after you have pan fried it. This results in the crispy and tasty tofu blocks.
Tofu stir fry
You can add whatever vegetables you want or have on hand. It is a fun way to cram a bunch of healthy vegetables into one dish. And the tofu is the tastiest part. Which just seems wrong to say, but it’s true.

Something we should talk about with this recipe, and also something that is pertinent for all cooking, is the concept of mise en place.

Mise en place is a French term that means “everything in it’s place.” and it refers to having everything prepared and ready for use. This concept is important always, but is super important in some dishes. This is one of those dishes. You can’t be chopping the vegetables while cooking the other vegetables because you will end up pulling your hair out AND overcooking everything. Mise en place means you cut every single thing you are going to need before you even start cooking. You measure out your sauces and other ingredients and have them ready to simply pour in the pan. Everything ready to go. Roger that?

Tofu stif fry ingredients
This is my stir fry mise en place. In a stir fry you are adding things in quick succession and everything needs to cook for a certain time. You put the vegetables that need longer to cook in first and add the ones that will cook very quickly at the very end. You don’t have time to be preparing as you go.

I’m fairly terrible at this! I’m a measure-once-cut-once-go-back-to-the-store-and-buy-another-piece-because-I-cut-it-wrong type of gal. Preparation is not my strong suite. It takes a lot of discipline to make myself get my mise en place. But it is crucial in this dish. Your end result will be a more enjoyable and more delicious experience.

I really hope you will give this actually yummy tofu stir fry a chance. My kids love it, at least the tofu parts. We have to negotiate over the vegetables. Oh, well.

This recipe has a lot of parts. Make sure you read through the entire thing to make sure you are clear on what goes where! Otherwise this might be a big fat disaster. And remember your mise en place.

Actually Yummy Tofu Stir Fry

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Actually Yummy Tofu Stir Fry


    For the Stir Fry
  • 1 package firm tofu,drained well, cut into small triangles
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 4 small carrots, sliced and peeled, cut on the bias 1/4" (2 cups total)
  • 3 oz. snow peas, string and rough ends removed
  • 1 small zucchini, seeded, quartered lengthwise and cut on the bias 1/4"
  • 1 pound bok choy or baby bok choy. Leafy part cut 3/4", cores cut 1/4"
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into 1/4" strips
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying
  • For the Tofu Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • For the Stir Fry Sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Cooked rice or cooked asian noodles to serve


    To Prepare stir fry
  1. In a large bowl, place 1/3- 1/2 cup corn starch. Carefully Toss each tofu piece in corn starch until coated. Set aside.
  2. Place 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and garlic and ginger in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. To Prepare tofu glaze
  4. Mix 2 tablespoons soy sauce, with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup chicken broth in a small bowl. set aside
  5. To Prepare stir fry sauce
  6. Whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 cup chicken brown, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Mix 1 tablespoon corn starch with 1 tablespoon cold water to make a slurry. Then whisk together with stir fry sauce and set aside.
  7. To Prepare Tofu
  8. Heat a small amount of oil in a large saute pan (enough to cover the bottom) until shimmering. Add one layer of tofu triangles. Don't crowd the pan too much. Let the tofu brown, then turn it and crisp the other side. Remove browned tofu and continue cooking until all of it is browned. Replenish the oil as needed.
  9. Turn the heat down to medium. Return the tofu to the pan. (If you can fit it all at once, great, if not you may have to do the glaze in two parts.) Add the tofu glaze (either all of it, if all the tofu fit in the pan or half of the glaze if it didn't all fit.)
  10. Remove from heat and stir gently to coat the tofu. The glaze should bubble and thicken as soon as you pour it in. If it doesn't, then return to the heat until it does, but be careful not to burn it.
  11. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
  12. Repeat if necessary.
  13. To Cook Stir Fry
  14. Heat oil in a large wok or large saute pan with fairly high sides.
  15. Add carrots and stirring and tossing constantly cook for approximately 2 minutes. Add red peppers for 2 minutes, then add zucchini and snow peas for 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and vegetable oil and bok choy. Cook for 1 minute.
  16. All the vegetables should be pretty tender, but not mushy.
  17. Add stir fry sauce that has been set aside and stir until sauce is thickened.
  18. Add back in tofu and toss gently. Serve immediately over rice or noodles.

Recipe Source: America’s Test Kitchen

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