Juicy tofu and vegetable stirfry

Everyone wants to eat healthy! Although I enjoy eating animal protein occasionally, my family does eat very healthy.  I'm a firm believer in "You are what you eat!" as the trending Netflix series is proving.  Many years ago, I attended a Natural Foods Expo and bumped into a celebrity chef.  I was shocked as she rode down the aisle in her scooter as she was incapable of walking on her own! I wondered if people would end up looking like her if they cooked like her!  My family eats a lot of vegetables and as I've gotten more "mature", I've been cooking more plant-based meals.  I've been incorporating a lot more tofu into my dishes recently due to the research I've done on tofu, and I thought I'd share this vegan, vegetarian juicy tofu and vegetables stir-fry recipe that is delicious.   It would seem that no one would need a recipe for this basic stir-fry dish BUT, I prepare the tofu in such a way that makes it absolutely really juicy and soaks up all the amazing sauce!

Tips for making juicy tofu and vegetables stir-fry

Tofu

Tofu is made of soybeans and it's a major source of plant protein.  Many Buddhist monks' protein source comes from tofu.  For 100 grams of firm tofu, here are the nutritional's:

  • Calories: 144
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Carbs: 3 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Calcium: 53% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Manganese: 51% of the DV
  • Copper: 42% of the DV
  • Selenium: 32% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 15% of the DV
  • Iron: 15% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 14% of the DV
  • Zinc: 14% of the DV

In doing my tofu research, I was surprised at the nutritional benefits of tofu compared to other products.  According to foodstruct.com, here are some eye-opening data.  The color of the text in the middle column shows which column is the healthier item.  I was blown away by the amount of calcium in tofu vs. milk!

Tofu vs milk nutrition

Tofu vs milk nutrition

Tofu vs beef nutrition

Tofu vs beef nutrition

There are various levels of tofu firmness. Silken and soft tofu has a higher water content and as a result, is more difficult to stir-fry.  It tends to break apart easily.  Firm or extra firm tofu has the least amount of water and the highest amount of calcium by weight. It is also hardier and the easiest to work with for stir-frying.  

For this juicy tofu and vegetables stir-fry dish, the tofu is first frozen and then defrosted. This process allows the water in the tofu to expand during freezing, making the holes in the tofu larger.  After defrosting and squeezing out most of the liquid, the tofu becomes a sponge and is very absorbent which is perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce. The texture of the tofu also changes and has a unique, chewy mouthfeel.

Vegetables

Use whatever firm vegetables you have available.  Go to my stir-fry basics on how to select and prepare the vegetables. Just remember to slice them uniformly, making them easier to cook.  The thicker vegetables should be cooked first and when they are partially cooked, add the other vegetables.  This ensures that all the vegetables are properly and uniformly cooked. 

Sauce

This dish requires more sauce than usual as most of the sauce is absorbed by the spongy tofu. 

Cooking Process

A large, non-stick skillet is a good way to cook this dish.  Since the tofu is super absorbent, a non-stick surface helps reduce the amount of oil needed to fry the tofu. The flat surface also makes it easy for the sides of the tofu to brown evenly.  Usually in stir-frys the protein is cooked first, set aside, followed by vegetables.  The protein is then added back into the vegetables and then the sauce is added.  

In this juicy tofu and vegetables stir-fry dish, the tofu is cooked after the vegetables. If the tofu is cooked first with the sauce, the pan will need to be washed so that the vegetables can be stir-fried.  To avoid having to wash the pan, I reverse the stir-frying process! (I just don't want to have to wash the pan during cooking or wash multiple pans!)

If you cook this juicy tofu and vegetables stir-fry, I would love to know what you think of the tofu texture!  Let me know in the comment section.

Juicy tofu and vegetable stirfry

JUICY TOFU & VEGETABLES STIR-FRY

Michelle Sam
This vegetarian and vegan juicy tofu and vegetable stir-fry is not only delicious, but also healthy. The texture of the tofu is unique and absorbs all the delicious sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Freezing & thawing tofu 1 day
Total Time 1 day 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 232 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ block of FIRM or EXTRA FIRM tofu You can freeze the whole block of tofu and use half.
  • 2 sliced carrots
  • 4 sliced colored mini peppers strips
  • 5 sliced white mushrooms
  • ½ sliced chayote squash
  • ½ medium sliced jicama
  • ½ tsp mushroom bouillon
  • oil for cooking
  • Fresh Cilantro for garnish

Sauce

Instructions
 

Prepare Tofu

  • Freeze the block of FIRM tofu to allow the water to expand.
    ½ block of FIRM or EXTRA FIRM tofu
  • Place the frozen tofu without the wrapper into a sieve or colander to allow the liquid to drain.
  • Squeeze the defrosted tofu to remove as much of the tofu liquid as possible.
  • Cut the tofu into 1/2" (1 cm) slices, then into quarters.

Prepare Vegetables

  • Slice your vegetables for stir-frying.
    2 sliced carrots, 4 sliced colored mini peppers strips, 5 sliced white mushrooms, ½ sliced chayote squash, ½ medium sliced jicama

Prepare Sauce

  • Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl.
    1 cup water, 1 tsp mushroom bouillon, 1 tsp light soy sauce, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 1 Tbsp mirin, ⅙ tsp white pepper

Stir fry

  • On a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.
    oil for cooking
  • Stir fry the vegetables, starting with the vegetables that require the most time to the vegetables that require the least time. This ensures that the vegetables are cooked uniformly.
  • Add bouillon at the end and mix.
    ½ tsp mushroom bouillon
  • Remove vegetables and place on your serving platter.
  • Add oil for stir frying the tofu.
  • Add tofu and arrange them flat.
  • Brown tofu and flip to brown the other side.
  • Stir the sauce mixture before adding to the tofu.
  • Allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Add cooked vegetables and stir.
  • Place on a platter and garnish with cilantro for color.
    Fresh Cilantro

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 6gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.1gSodium: 492mgPotassium: 460mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 5989IUVitamin C: 56mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 2mgNet Carbohydrates: 12g
Keyword Stir fry, tofu, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was or if you have any questions or suggestions!
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