Vegetable Honey Tofu Stir-Fry Recipe
While in Paris, my mother taught me a new trick for enhancing the flavor of vegetarian meals. She uses honey to caramelize tofu, then deglazes the dish with Maggi (or soy sauce). My parents aren't vegetarian but my mother used to cook a lot of vegetarian dishes for my grandparents who were. My husband Lulu was pleased to eat at my mom's because he got to discover new tofu dishes using these techniques. For this particular recipe, Mom and I sautéed some broccoli and bok choy along with tofu. Delicious!
Since I had to find the best honey available for this dish, it gave me another excuse to explore more Parisian open air markets. I found this wonderful creamy honey from a beekeeper who had come from the south of France to sell his wares. He was very passionate about his products. Lulu and I sampled several kinds, which were all fabulous. We got an absolutely delicious education in honey and brought many jars back with us.
Yields: 8 servings1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu
3 tablespoons canola oil
5 cloves garlic, cut in thirds
1 tablespoon creamy honey
3 tablespoons Maggi sauce (or soy sauce)
2 teaspoons black bean garlic sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, to taste
15 baby bok choys
2 heads broccoli
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, slightly toasted
1 teaspoons sesame oil (optional)
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
½ teaspoon salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Prepping the tofu: Cut the tofu into ½-inch slices. In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Pan-fry the pieces of tofu on both sides until golden and puffy. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Once the tofu pieces are cool enough to handle, dice them. Set aside.
Prepping the bok choy: Stem the vegetables. Slice them in half, lengthwise. Cut and separate the stems from the leaves. Set aside.
Prepping the broccoli: Separate the broccoli florets. Blanch for 3-4 minutes in boiling water then transfer into an ice bath. Drain thoroughly, then pat dry on a paper towel. Do not overcook, as the broccoli will continue to cook with the tofu later.
In the same wok, add the rest of the oil. Once it's hot, add the garlic. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, add the tofu and stir fry until fragrant. Transfer the tofu to a platter, leaving as much oil as possible in the wok.
Add the bok choy stems. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add a tablespoon of Maggi (or soy sauce). Add the remaining bok choy leaves. Toss well, then transfer to a platter.
Return the tofu and garlic to the wok. Add honey. Once the tofu is coated in honey and caramelized, add both black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce and the remaining Maggi (or soy sauce). Stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Add the broccoli and bok choy. Stir constantly.
Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro. Drizzle with sesame oil.
Serve immediately with steamed rice. I served this tofu dish with brown jasmine rice for a healthier meal.
Eat with chopsticks . (If you are observing the tradition of eating vegetarian foods (ăn chay) on the last day of the previous year and first day of the Asian New Year, you could make this vegetarian dish).
You can find Maggi sauce (vegetable-based seasoning) at several Vietnamese specialty stores in San Jose such as Euro Delights. The address is 1816 Tully Road, San Jose, CA. Make sure the bottle says "Made in France"; otherwise it might be a much saltier version, which is very unpleasant.
I absolutely love Thanh Son brand tofu. If you live in the Bay Area, you have to try it. They sell it in almost all the Asian markets in downtown San Jose, and their main shop is on 2857 Senter Road, San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is very good. Their factory makes the best tofu texture; it's made fresh daily on site. Make sure to ask for the firm type.
I used bok choy, but you can use any other green vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, choy sum, sugar snap peas or green beans.
You could also finish the dish with a little mound of butter instead of sesame oil at the end, if you like.
I used store-bought black bean and chili garlic sauce like the one from Lee Kum Kee. If you're looking for chili garlic sauce, you can check for the recipe of tướng ớt, literally spicy dipping sauce in Vietnamese; it's ultra easy.
If you like meat, you could add sautéed ground chicken.
Published By: on January 17, 2011.