Soy-Braised Tofu With Bok Choy
This Chinese-style braised tofu is an ideal midweek dinner over rice or noodles. Shallow frying the tofu first makes it sturdier and prevents it from breaking apart in the sauce. (You could also deep-fry or use an air fryer.) Cutting the tofu into thicker pieces means that each mouthful is crisp yet plump, with a soft interior. This is an adaptable dish; when adding the bell peppers, you could add more vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, snow peas or whatever you have on hand. Those familiar with restaurant-style braised tofu may expect more sauce, but in this homestyle version, the seasoning sauce delicately coats the tofu and vegetables without drowning them. That said, double the sauce if you prefer.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1(14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry
- Neutral oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable
- Salt and black pepper
- 1tablespoon doubanjiang or chile oil
- 2garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1(1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 4scallions, trimmed, white and green parts separated and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1bell pepper (any color), stem and membrane removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2teaspoons Shaoxing wine (optional)
- 4baby bok choy, trimmed and halved through the stem
- Cooked rice or noodles, for serving
- 2tablespoons soy sauce
- 1tablespoon vegetarian stir-fry sauce or oyster sauce
- 1teaspoon cornstarch
- ½teaspoon granulated sugar
Step 1Cut tofu across into ¾-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice in half so you have roughly 12 squares.
Step 2Heat a large (12-inch), deep-sided nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet on medium-high. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base. Place the tofu in a single layer, season each piece with a little salt and black pepper, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until golden and crispy. Flip and cook on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes more, adding more oil if needed. Remove tofu from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
Step 3Make the sauce: Combine the soy sauce, vegetarian stir-fry sauce or oyster sauce, cornstarch and sugar with ⅓ cup of water. Whisk until smooth.
Step 4In the same skillet over medium heat, add the doubanjiang or chile oil (if you’re using doubanjiang, add about 1 teaspoon of neutral oil) and stir for 15 seconds. Add the garlic, ginger and white parts of the scallion, and toss for 1 to 2 minutes, until the scallions are softened and everything is fragrant. If the pan starts to look dry, add a drop of oil.
Step 5Add the bell pepper and Shaoxing wine, if using, and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until slightly softened. Pour in the seasoning sauce and let it sizzle for 30 seconds, stirring once or twice.
Step 6Add the baby bok choy, tofu and green parts of the scallion, toss gently to coat the tofu. Let it simmer on low heat for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens, the baby bok choy is wilted but still green and crisp-tender, and the tofu has absorbed some of the sauce. Serve with rice or noodles.