Vegetable & Tofu Stir-fry

                                        - Southern China


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Serves 4


I know a lot of people have a vendetta against tofu.  I love it, BUT, only in it’s native habitat, ie. oriental foods.  I love it in stir-fry, I love it in a Chinese brown sauce with mushrooms, I adore it in a good miso but please, keep it out of my lasagna and my chili. It is not a substitute for meat, it is tofu and as such it is great, but don’t try to kid yourself that it can take the place of meat in a dish.  So, that said, the following is a very tasty southern Chinese style tofu and fresh vegetable stir-fry.  You don’t have to have a wok to stir-fry.  It helps but a large heavy, slope sided skillet will work.


1 or 2 tablespoons of peanut oil or olive oil

1 medium size yellow onion, cut into 8 or 10 wedges

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, chopped small

About 1 teaspoon slivered fresh ginger root – (or to taste)

1 stalk of celery, cut into about 1/4 inch thick pieces on the diagonal

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips


About 1 cup of broccoli flowerets, blanched

About 1 cup of cauliflower flowerets, very lightly blanched

About 1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup defatted chicken or beef stock (or commercial canned broth)

            - vegetarians and vegans use Court Bouillon

A handful of edible pod peas

About 14-ounces of extra firm tofu – (one tub), cut into cubes

About a handful of fresh bean sprouts

A few drops of sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Chinese 5-spice to taste

A pinch of dry chili flakes – (optional)


2 tablespoons additional stock or broth

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste


A bit of chopped fresh cilantro – (optional)

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger root and sauté/stir-fry until the onion is just barely beginning to brown around the edges.  Add the celery and pepper strips and continue to stir-fry until all are hot through and beginning to soften, about a minute or two.  Add the blanched broccoli and cauliflower flowerets and continue to stir-fry until hot through.  Add the mushrooms and broth or stock and

continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables reach your desired degree of doneness.  They should still be a bit crisp. 

Add the peas, tofu and bean sprouts and cook for another minute or two, or until all is hot through.  Add the sesame oil, sugar, Chinese 5-spice and chili flakes and gently stir-fry for about a minute.  Blend the two tablespoons of stock with the cornstarch, add to the vegetables and gently stir until the sauce is translucent and somewhat thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve with steamed rice or boiled Chinese noodles.

The English Country Kitchen



      Copyright © 2008 - Geraldine Duncann

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