Unlike some ardent carnivores, who tend to dislike its texture and seeming lack of flavor, I’ve never had a problem with tofu. My friend Heather introduced me to bean curd in college, and while I rarely seek it out, we’ve always been on friendly terms.
Recently, I’ve been thinking of going vegetarian for a month (just for kicks) and would like to incorporate some tofu into my diet. There won’t be anything crazy—no tofundue or from-scratch tofurkies—but a stir-fry or two couldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, having virtually zero experience preparing the stuff, I need to get on my game.
So, Saturday night, I hit up All Recipes for the best rated, most idiot-proof tofu recipe I could find. Hot and Spicy Tofu fit the bill, not least because it was submitted by a site member named RitalinCindy. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “if RitalinCindy can do this, I should be OK.”
Based on reviewer suggestions, I halved the pepper flakes, added a little honey, and pressed the tofu itself beforehand, to get rid of some of the moisture and make it easier to stir-fry. (Changes reflected below.) The result was more sweet-n-spicy than hot-n-spicy, but delicious nonetheless. Paired with rice, it’d make a faboo weekday meal, and might even trick some anti-tofu friends into accepting bean curd into their hearts.
Of course, if they’re hardcore meat eaters, chicken or pork could be swapped in seamlessly here. Y’know, just in case.
- 2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 package (14-ounce) firm tofu
- 1 red onion, halved and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Rice, for serving
Drain the tofu, place it on a dry surface, and weigh it down with two or three dinner plates for one hour, draining every few minutes. After time is up, chop tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.
Heat peanut oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Toss the tofu into the oil, and cook until browned on all sides. Once browned, toss in onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic; cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the hot water, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes. Pour over tofu and vegetables, toss to coat, and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens slightly. Serve with rice.