Easy and delicious pan-fried tofu and vegetables Photo Credit: Lylli Duong

Tofu is often thought to be plain and undesirable in a meal, probably because it can be. However, there are so many benefits to eating tofu and there are so many ways to make it delicious and flavorful. Made from soy milk, it’s a great source of protein and can fit easily into any meal. In addition to protein, tofu provides iron, calcium, and vitamin A.

With all the benefits of eating tofu, the only reason people might not enjoy it is because of the flavor. However, that can be solved with some simple pan frying and sauce. This recipe uses less than 5 ingredients to create the best savory tofu that can be enjoyed over and over again. It’s good by itself, but even better over rice.

The first step is to open your firm tofu and discard of the liquid inside. Then, simply cut it into strips. If you would like, you could also cut it into cubes.

Next, simply fry the tofu. On a medium heat pan, add oil and when it gets hot, add in your tofu. When the tofu turns golden brown, simply take it out and place it in a separate bowl or plate.

For the sauce, prepare a bowl with 1 and ½ cups of water. Add in your oyster sauce and soy sauce. Optionally, you could add a little bit of fish sauce to add more flavor. On a medium-high heat pan, add a little bit of oil and wait for it to heat up. Then, add your sauce to the pan. When it starts to boil, mix and stir in your frozen vegetables. In this recipe, I used a bag of mixed vegetables with peas, carrots, corn, and green beans. The vegetables do not need to be thawed before. When this boils again, add in your cornstarch slurry and mix it all together.

After the sauce thickens a bit, add in your fried tofu. Mix the two together and serve over rice. Additionally, you could add some black pepper on top.

Where It Can Go Wrong

While the recipe can be simple, there are some steps where it can seem to go wrong. At the start, when you fry the tofu, it can seem that the tofu is not actually frying. Tofu tends to have a lot of water and it will boil out in the beginning and shrink. After a few minutes, the tofu should start to brown. You can add more oil to help with making a crispy texture and changing the heat levels.

When making the sauce, one area that can go wrong is adding the cornstarch. After adding the cornstarch, the sauce may not thicken right away. If this is the case, let the sauce boil for a bit until it thickens. The water in the sauce might not have boiled out yet, so this will help thicken the sauce. Another option you can do is add more of the cornstarch slurry to help thicken the sauce. On the other hand, if the sauce is too thick, you could add water to thin out the sauce.

Ingredients Needed:

1 package of firm tofu

1 cup of frozen vegetables

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

2 teaspoons of soy sauce

Cornstarch

Optional:

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

Black pepper

 Instructions:

Pan-frying the Tofu

1.      Open firm tofu and pour out the liquid

2.      Cut the tofu into strips

3.      Use a paper towel to remove excess liquid on the tofu with a paper towel

4.      Add oil into a medium to large pan on medium-low heat

5.      After the pan gets hot, add it tofu and pan fry until golden brown

6.      Remove the tofu (this would be a good time to make rice)

Making the Sauce:

1.      Pour 1 and ½ cups of water into a bowl

2.      Add 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce to the bowl of water

3.      Add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce to the mixture

4.      Optional: add 1 teaspoon of fish sauce

5.      Stir the mixture until it is a uniform color

6.      On a pan, add ½ teaspoon of oil on medium heat

7.      After the pan gets hot, add in sauce mixture

8.      While the sauce is heating up, create a cornstarch slurry with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of water

9.      When the sauce starts to bubble, add in 1 cup of frozen vegetables (no need to defrost)

10.  When the sauce and vegetables bubble again, add in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. The added amount can vary depending on the desired thickness of the sauce

11.  Stir the sauce, vegetables, and cornstarch slurry and let simmer for a few minutes

12.  When the sauce thickens, add in tofu and mix

13.  Finally, serve over rice with a little bit of pepper


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