Asian Kitchen: 3 Recipes To Try At Home

Photo of Tofu on White Ceramic Plate
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These delicious recipes feature tofu, which is rich in protein and can be prepared in many different ways: fried, stir-fried, baked, or eaten raw.

You’ll want to pair your tofu with the right flavors (and press it first if you are frying or baking firm tofu).

Here are some simple Asian tofu recipes to allow you to get the best results from tofu.

Note: If you don’t have tofu, but you have tempeh, these recipes will still work. The main difference in the preparation of tempeh vs. tofu is that tempeh cannot be eaten raw.

1. Kung Pau Tofu

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients

  • One 14-ounce package of extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of either soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • One 2-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium scallions, chopped (separate white and green parts)
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, deseeded, and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh ground chili paste (like Sambal Oelek)
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons salted peanuts, chopped
  • Cooked rice (for serving)

Method

  1. Slice your tofu block in half lengthwise, then cut into small cubes (about 32 pieces). Place them in a shallow container in one layer.
  2. In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons soy sauce with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Pour over the tofu and turn the cubes so that they are evenly coated. Let them marinate while you make the sauce.
  3. In another bowl, mix the rest of the soy sauce with the water, the other tablespoon of cornstarch, the sherry, vinegar, sugar, and chili paste.
  4. Heat up 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and gently fry the cubes for 10 minutes, occasionally flipping to brown all sides evenly. Set the cubes aside on a plate lined with paper towels.
  5. Add the other teaspoon of oil to the pan. Sauté the ginger, garlic, and white parts of the scallions for half a minute.
  6. Turn up the heat to high and sauté the zucchini and peppers for 4 minutes or till slightly cooked.
  7. Pour in the tofu and the sauce, and stir. Cook for 4 minutes more or till the sauce has thickened.
  8. Sprinkle your tofu with the chopped peanuts and the green parts of the scallions, and serve over the rice.

2. Hoisin Tofu

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot chili paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • One 12-ounce block firm or extra firm tofu (pressed and cubed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • Cooked rice or noodles (for serving)

Method

  1. Mix the hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, chili paste, and sesame oil in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté half of the tofu for 3 minutes or till it starts to brown. Transfer your tofu onto a plate lined with paper towels, then sauté the remaining tofu cubes.
  3. Put the rest of the tofu back into the pan along with the hoisin sauce mixture: toss the cubes to coat them evenly.
  4. Sauté the tofu for another 3 minutes to heat the sauce thoroughly, then serve over rice or noodles, sprinkled with sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.

3. Salt and Pepper Tofu

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces of the firm or extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
  • Canola oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (garnish)
  • 2 red chilis, deseeded and thinly sliced (optional, for garnish)

Method

  1. In a skillet or wok, put 1 inch of canola oil and bring to medium heat.
  2. Combine the cornstarch, white pepper, and salt in a small bowl, and put into a large Ziploc bag or lidded container.
  3. Put the tofu cubes into the bag and shake well to coat the cubes evenly.
  4. Once the oil is hot, fry the tofu till crispy on all sides (fry a few cubes at a time, leaving the rest in the bag in the cornstarch). Note: your tofu won’t go golden brown – it will just get crispy.
  5. Garnish your fried tofu cubes with sliced chilis, scallions, and perhaps an extra grind of black pepper.

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