Spicy Peanut Tofu Stir Fry
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A super flavorful spicy peanut tofu stir fry! The tofu is tossed in a homemade thai-style peanut sauce and is crispy without frying! I’m pan sautéing my tofu along with shiitake mushrooms and sliced onions. Serve it on a bed of brown rice, quinoa, or on it’s own!
And that’s how we do meatless Monday. With pan crispy tofu that’s been tossed in a homemade thai-style peanut sauce that’s loaded with ginger, garlic, peanut butter, brown sugar, and a squeeze of lime juice. Friends, I assure you, you’re DEFINITELY not going to miss the meat with this recipe.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I was not a tofu fan before last year. Oh gosh no! I don’t care what anyone said or how delicious it sounds, tofu? The stuff that looks like my dish sponge? NO THANK YOU. And boy, have I eaten my words (and tons and tons of tofu too since then.)
This recipe is anything but boring my friends. It’s savory, satisfying and loaded with flavor. I’m packing in some of my favorite veggies and not only is it completely vegan and vegetarian friendly, its also GLUTEN FREE. But that doesn’t mean my meat
eating loving husband didn’t enjoy it. A few bites in and there a lot of head nodding and that typical look that husbands get when they reallllllllly enjoy dinner.
I’ll never forget it.
The veggie possibilities for this stir fry are endless.
You can certainly swap out the veggies or add a couple different types along with the ones i’ve used. My tofu stir fry has lots of sliced shiitake mushrooms for an added savory/smoky note along with large diced onions which add a little sweetness. And One thing I almost always serve with my homemade stir frys — freshly grilled baby bok choy. Bok choy is another one of those foods that i’ve learned to love with time. As a kid, I didn’t much care for them at all. As an adult, I could make a meal out of grilled bok choy that’s been drizzled with a bit of toasted sesame oil and a hint of salt and pepper. Seriously. It’s SO GOOD.
The secret to crispy, delicious tofu is simple. 1.) use extra firm tofu. and 2.) get as much water out of the tofu as possible. Drying out the tofu allows for a better sear on the outside of the tofu. I’m a texture girl, so i’ll do whatever it takes to make perfect tofu stir fry. Recently I splurged for a tofu press (aka the best invention ever) to get the water out of tofu. But before the tofu press, I used a couple of tea towels, two plates, and the largest cans in my pantry to squeeze the water out. The tofu press definitely makes it easier but you don’t necessarily need it.
After the tofu has most of the water pressed out, I cut it into small pieces and then pop it into a baggy and toss it with corn starch, and a little salt and pepper. Sometimes I add in a pinch or two of chili powder to help give the tofu a more caramelized color when it’s pan fried. This is entirely aesthetic and not necessary! The peanut tofu stir fry gets extra crispy and delicious because 1.) squeezing the water out 2.) tossing it in corn starch 3.) pan frying it in a little bit of oil.
Near the end of the pan frying process, I hit the tofu with a couple tablespoons of peanut stir fry sauce just to coat it with a bit of flavor and a little added caramelization!
This peanut tofu stir fry is delicious at dinner and the leftovers make for a great lunch the next day. The flavors have a minute to mesh together and like a good chili, this stir fry tasted better the next day.<— and that my friends is a WINNER!
- 1 - 14 ounce block extra firm tofu
- 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola, coconut)
- 1 ½ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (button or baby bellas work too)
- 1 cup white onions, large dice
- 1 ½ tablespoon EACH: minced garlic AND grated ginger (ginger paste is fine too)
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (use GF tamari to make this gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoon chili oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- grilled bok choy, crushed peanuts, red pepper flakes, and lime wedges
- TOFU: Place a folded tea towel in the shape of the tofu on a plate. Place tofu in the prepared plate. Place another tea towel on top (in the shape of the tofu) followed by another plate and 2-28 ounce cans or anything that weight 2-3 pounds to help remove the water from the tofu. Or you can simply use a tofu press and tighten the wheels to help squeeze out the water over a plate. Let the tofu dry for at least 15-20 minutes and ideally, I like to let it go for an hour. Once dry, cut the tofu up into 1-inch cubes. Place the cornstarch, salt, and if desired, a pinch of chili powder into a zip top bag. Add the tofu, zip the bag and give it a toss so the tofu is coated with the cornstarch.
- SAUCE: While the tofu is drying, prepare the sauce. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender or in a medium mason jar (with a lid). I prepared it in a jar and gave it a few good shakes until the ingredients mixed through. Set aside.
- STIR FRY: In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat pan. Add the cubed tofu to the pan and let fry for 3 minutes. Flipping the tofu as needed to ensure even browning on all sides. Add 3 tablespoons of the prepared sauce to the tofu and allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. When the tofu is caramelized, remove to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoons of oil to the pan, turn the stove to high heat and add the shiitake mushrooms and onions to the pan. Cook the veggies for 3-4 minutes or to desired doneness. Add the tofu back into the skillet, turn the stove off. Drizzle in the peanut sauce and toss to coat. Remove stir fry to a serving dish.
- SERVE: Serve warm with rice, quinoa, or on it's own. Top with crushed peanuts, red pepper flakes and lime wedges. Serve with grilled bok choy is desired. The tofu will lose a bit of the crispness as it sits. But the flavors intensify and the stir fry tastes even better the next day!
- TOFU: I used a tofu press to remove the water as it's much easier than the tea towel method. Both will work as I have used both methods to prepare stir frys.
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*Please note: the nutritional facts calculated are an estimate based on the ingredients i’ve used. If you’d like a more accurate count, please calculate them using the ingredients/brands you’ve used to prepare the recipe. This is for ¼th of the peanut tofu stir fry recipe not including the rice or quinoa.
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