June 26, 2013

Deliciousness: Seared Tofu with Vegetables

The New York Times can be a wonderful resource for recipes; every once in a while I find one that is so very good, and so simple, that I use it often. My recipe book is stuffed with NY Times clippings, but not many become regulars. This one will. Called Hot and Sour Seared Tofu with Sugar Snap Peas, it is a perfect meal for using some fresh garden produce.  The author, Melissa Clark, points out that the first key to searing the tofu is to use extra firm or firm tofu and drain it very well; the second is not to fuss with the cooking of it. The sauce for this dish is full of garlic and ginger, so very flavorful. It is a rather thick sauce, so no thickener is needed. I will use it on all kinds of stir fries in the future, it's that good. Clark uses snap peas for this recipe, but since mine aren't ready yet, but I have lots of asparagus, that's what I used. I bet this would be delicious with broccoli or bok choi or green beans.

2 or 3 servings (just two for me!)

1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu
4 large garlic cloves, grated
2 small jalapeno chiles, seeds and veins removed if desired, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 teas grated ginger root
1 1/2 Tbs fresh lime juice, more to taste (I didn't have a lime the first time I made this, so used lemon juice, which was just fine)
1 1/2 teas toasted (Asian) sesame oil (I used some hot oil along with the regular, which made the dish extra spicy) You can use more to drizzle on the finished dish.
1 1/2 teas Asian fish sauce (another variation of mine: no fish sauce in the house, so I used Hoisin sauce, which worked very well)
1 teas honey (of course I used Vermont maple syrup)
2 Tbs peanut oil, more if needed
6 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced thinly (I had 1 pound of trimmed asparagus, which seems like a lot, but I love vegetables)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
sesame seeds, for serving
cooked rice, for serving
chopped cilantro or basil, for serving

  1. Drain tofu, slice into six 3/4 inch slices. Arrange side by side, wrapped in a clean dish towel; place between two flat trays, with the top one weighted, for 10 to 20 minutes.
  2. Make the sauce: combine garlic, chiles, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, sesame oil, fish sauce, and honey.
  3. Unwrap tofu and pat dry.
  4. Heat a large skillet (I used a 12 inch cast iron pan) over high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Add the peanut oil and let it heat for 30 seconds, then add the tofu. Don't touch for 2 or 3 minutes, then turn and sear the other side. Move tofu to the side of the pan, stacking it so there's room for the vegetables. Add the vegetable and scallions, with more oil if needed. Stir fry until they begin to soften, a minute or two. Add sauce and stir well, cooking vegetables till done crisp-tender. Put sauce over tofu. 
  5. Serve tofu and vegetables over rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds and basil or cilantro.
  6. Enjoy!


  1. This is a terrific recipe! Even with a number of substitutions it came out great, thanks Altoon!

    1. Oh, you're very welcome, Nancy; how great that you liked it.