White Asparagus and Tofu Recipe

White Asparagus and Tofu Recipe Recipe

This is the vegetarian meal I usually make when there is no fresh produce left in my refrigerator. I had lots of  errands today and grocery shopping was part of my to-do list, but I never had time to reach that one task before my husband Lulu and daughter Aria got back home for lunch. So I went on a scavenger hunt in the pantry to make a quick and easy recipe for lunch to please my husband's vegetarian diet.  

I prepared white asparagus tofu because, well, this is what was available in the pantry. I found a can of white asparagus spears, honey, vegetarian hoisin sauce and tofu. To enhance the flavor of the dish, I also added garlic, yellow onion wedges, black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce. 

I always stock my pantry with key ingredients in case of an emergency. My go-to tofu is the one that requires no refrigeration until the package is opened (shelf-table). I usually select the firm kind. Simply make sure the package mentions that there are no preservatives, that it is gluten-free (that's a good sign for its quality) and that it’s made with non-GMO soybeans. 


Yields: 6 servings

1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or any neutral oil), as needed
½ teaspoon mushroom seasoning salt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (15-ounce) can white asparagus spears, drained
1 teaspoon black bean garlic sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, to taste
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons orange blossom honey
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into small wedges
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
3 tablespoons curly parsley, coarsely chopped


Preparing the tofu: Cut the tofu into 1¼-inch slices. In a wok, heat 3 tablespoons oil. Pan-fry the slices on both sides until golden. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Using a spatula, cut the slices in half crosswise and pan-fry the sides until golden. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Sprinkle with mushroom seasoning salt. 


In the same wok, heat more oil and add the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, return the fried tofu pieces to the wok. Add the black bean sauce, chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, honey and ¼ cup water (up to ½ cup if the water is absorbed too fast). Cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing frequently until all the sauce is evenly distributed. Add the onion wedges and white asparagus spears. Toss well for 2-3 minutes and add parsley. Check seasoning (add more seasoning salt if necessary). Turn off the heat. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with black pepper. 

Serve with rice or use as a filling for a banh mi sandwich with pickled carrots and radish.

Bon appétit!


Mushroom seasoning salt brings a very distinct, earthy flavor to the sauce. You can find it in gourmet specialty stores or in most Korean stores.

You can replace the asparagus with any vegetable you have on hand.

The ingredients listed above can be found in any Asian specialty markets.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 25, 2014.


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