Crispy Tofu Stir Fry

In this recipe, we pan-fry firm tofu with a rice flour coating – a nice variation of our broccoli-tofu stir fry. The frying changes the texture and, when combined with a sweet and sour sauce, provides a nice mouth-feel for the dish. We could have also marinated the tofu for even more flavor prior to frying, but the cooking was time consuming already. We are pleased with the results, both the “pressing” of the tofu and the rice flour coating make this rather bland ingredient more interesting. We serve our vegetable tofu mixture over rice, but any cooked Asian noodle would also be wonderful.

Servings and Times

Serves: 3
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

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We begin about an hour and a half before we want to eat by prepping the tofu. We want to extract as much water as we can to change the texture and help with crisping the exterior. We slice the block of tofu horizontally into 5 pieces. Each piece is wrapped in paper towels and placed on a medium-sized plate. The plates are stacked with a sixth plate on top to weigh down the tofu. We refrigerate for an hour.

We get all the vegetables ready as dinner time approaches.

We make the sauce for the stir fry by mixing the soy sauce, fish sauce, stock, brown sugar, and lime juice together. We have the cornstarch measured but do not add it to the liquid yet.

We preheat the toaster oven to 350° F as we spread the peanuts on a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil that will fit in the toaster oven. The peanuts are placed in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes. We want them fragrant. We remove the toasted peanuts and set aside.

We want to pan-fry our tofu with a rice flour coating. We start heating our large, nonstick pan with a thin coating of oil over medium heat. The rice flour is poured into a medium-sized bowl. We begin with one of the pressed pieces of tofu. It is cut into approximately ½ inch pieces and added to the flour. They are tossed gently to just lightly coat with the flour and placed in one layer in the hot oil. After a few minutes, when golden brown, we flip with a spatula and continue to cook on the other side until golden. They crisp tofu cubes are removed to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkled with salt. We continue with the rest of the tofu, adding a little more oil as necessary. We only fry 3 of the 5 pieces of tofu tonight, wrapping the rest and refrigerating for another time. It does take patience to cook each piece of tofu until crisp.

When the tofu is fried, we wipe out the nonstick pan with paper towels and place back on the stove. We add half a tablespoon of oil and, when hot, quickly add the onion. We stir for a couple of minutes and then add the garlic and ginger. We stir fry for 30 seconds, and then remove to a clean bowl. We add a teaspoon of oil and the mushrooms, and stir for a couple of minutes until tender. We remove these to the bowl as well.

We heat another half a tablespoon of oil and add the carrots and green pepper. Meanwhile, we decide to cook the broccoli in a bowl with a sprinkling of water in the microwave. We cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cook for a minute. It is tender and bright green and we set it aside. When the green pepper and carrots are tender, we add all the vegetables back to the pan, along with the fried tofu to heat. We stir gently and then it is time for the final addition of the sauce. We mix the cornstarch with the sauce, add this to the broccoli-tofu mixture, and stir for another minute.

We serve with the toasted peanuts, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, and cilantro leaves on top.

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