Asian Tofu and Veggies

by elleryturner

I feel pretty badly about my attitude toward tofu this last couple of years.  It hasn’t been very nice.  Whenever I think about eating tofu, I feel like I need to wear Birkenstocks and not shave my legs for a week before I’m even allowed to buy it.  Turns out – neither of those are required to be able to cook it at home!  Who knew?  Whenever I’ve tried tofu at restaurants, I’ve really enjoyed it, so I finally decided to give it a go on my own.  In doing so, I learned that one – you don’t have to be a dirty hippie to enjoy it, and two – you DO have to be a tortoise for it to taste restaurant quality without deep frying it.  Pan-fried tofu is not conducive to a hare mentality…

I started with some toasted sesame oil, let it get nice and hot in the pan, then let my tofu sizzle in it, turning to brown on all sides until it was nice and toasty, and finished by de-glazing the pan with some Bragg’s Amino Acids.  Slow and steady wins the race…slow and steady, now stuff your face?

The toasted sesame oil can be substituted with vegetable oil, but I’ll recommend it as a kitchen staple.  It lends a subtle, but deep and nutty taste to dishes with other Asian flavors.  And if you keep it in the fridge, it will last for quite a while.  The Bragg’s can be substituted with soy sauce , but I would recommend it as another staple.  If I may take you back to high school chemistry, you’ll remember that amino acids are “the building blocks of protein.”  Bragg’s Amino Acids are loaded with protein, heart-healthy, and contain less sodium than regular soy sauce. In fact, it has just under 1/4th the amount of sodium as a low-sodium soy sauce…and zero calories.  Again – keep it in the fridge and it will last a while.   

I used some vegetables that I had left over from a stir fry earlier in the week, but leftover bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli and green beans would all be great in this dish.

Asian Tofu and Veggies (serves 2)

1 14oz package of tofu (I used extra firm for pan frying), chopped

1 tbls Bragg’s Amino Acids

1 tbls toasted sesame oil

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 zucchini, chopped

1/2 summer squash, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

Step 1:  Heat your pan to medium-high and add half of the sesame oil.  Let it heat up – you can test to see if it’s ready by adding a drop of water.  If the water sizzles, you’re ready to fry!  Add the tofu and let brown, turning to brown on all sides.  This takes about 15 minutes (remember – tortoise) – but it’s worth it to get a nice crisp all around.

Step 2: Add half of the amino acids and toss the tofu around the pan.  Remove the tofu so it doesn’t get soggy when you cook your veggies.

Step 3:  Add the rest of the sesame oil, the vegetables, and the rest of the amino acids and let saute about 5 minutes.  I like my veggies to be just cooked through, but still with a bite.  Add the tofu back to the pan to heat up.

Step 4: Serve and enjoy!

This dish is flavorful and filling on it’s own, but can be served over brown rice for an extra punch of whole grains.  If you’re feeling especially ambitious, add in some fresh ginger and garlic to take the Asian theme to the next level.  Go ahead – the world is your oyster!  Or your recycled, empty tofu container if you happen to fit my above description of a dirty hippie…Bon Apetit!