Weeknight Soy Sauce-y, Peanut-y Tofu

By • March 3, 2014 • 17 Comments

473 Save


Author Notes: A very simple but very forthright tofu stir-fry. The key is not to fuss with the tofu too much (that and to press the tofu if possible). It'll brown far better if left unmolested. About the peanuts: a traditional Chinese recipe -- which this in no way is -- would use raw peanuts. If you want that slightly legume-y taste, use that; if you want the more American taste of roasted peanuts, use that. The leftovers here are splendid, which is why I use a couple blocks of tofu. Nicholas Day

Serves 4, generously

The Tofu Part

  • 2 blocks of tofu, extra firm or firm
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 3/4 cups unsalted peanuts, whole or halved, roasted or raw (see above)
  • Cooking oil

The Sauce Part

  • 3/4 cups soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • A touch of lemon or lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
  1. If you have time, press the tofu. (Place it under a weighted cutting board for a half-hour, letting the liquid run off or get absorbed by paper towels.) Dry it off. Then slice it into small cubes, in the 1/2-1-inch range.
  2. In a wok or a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of the oil on medium-high. Then add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Scrape it out of the pan and reserve for later.
  3. While the onion is browning, stir together the sauce ingredients. Taste. It should be sweet and salty and a little bitter, too. Adjust until the flavors are aligned to your taste. You might want more molasses or more Shaoxing wine; you might need a squeeze or two of lemon or lime for more acidity.
  4. When the onion is done, add a couple tablespoons of oil to the wok or pan and increase the heat to high. Add the tofu and immediately toss it with the hot oil. Then leave it alone. Let it sit for a few minutes, longer than seems wise. Once the tofu begins to brown, stir it to brown the remaining sides. It should take around ten minutes total. A minute before it is done, add the ginger and briefly saute it. Then spread the browned onions and peanuts on top and add the sauce. Gently stir, so that everything soaks in the sauce, and let the liquid reduce for a few minutes. Reduce until the sauce is as thin or thick as you like. Then turn off the heat, drizzle the sesame oil on top, and serve.
Jump to Comments (17)

Comments (17) Questions (1)

Default-small
Default-small
Default-small

4 months ago Alyssa Kollmeyer

I made the same mistake as bletart1. Wayyyy tooo salty.

Default-small

4 months ago bletart1

Sorry, I misread the recipe and only used 1 package of tofu. The second package must dissipate the salt.

Default-small

4 months ago bletart1

OMG, salt city. Let me go check my blood pressure.

Default-small

4 months ago steff villa

Wouldn't cooking that sauce make it bitter with that lemon/lime juice cooking?

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

4 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

That's a good question. I have detected bitterness, but thought it was due to the blackstrap molasses I use. Next time I'll try adding the lime juice at the end (as one typically would). ;o)

Default-small

6 months ago JW

So delicious. The toddler loved it too (as he did the coconut dal a few weeks back): "Yummy tofu. And peanuts! Peanuts!"

Default-small

6 months ago Shirley bankier

How much tofu is two blocks?

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

6 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I made this last week using baked (plain) tofu that I had on hand. (I often bake tofu cubes at the same time that I'm roasting vegetables or baking bread. It's handy, no patting dry or pressing is necessary, and there's no spitting oil.) I substituted cashews for the peanuts. We liked it, a lot. Next time, I plan to use shallots instead of the regular onion. I'll definitely be making this again. Thank you. ;o)

Img_8893

6 months ago Nicholas Day

Oh, excellent. Happy to hear this!

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

6 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Making it again this weekend, in fact. We could live on this. My slacker-Mom trick is to put the cooked tofu in sauce into a warm bowl and into a warm oven, then slosh a couple tablespoons into the skillet and give it a quick stir, then turn the heat up fairly high, plop a half dozen tiny bok choy that have been halved lengthwise, cut size down, and immediately put a lid on it. I cook it for no more than a minute or so, shaking occasionally. Meanwhile, I plate the sticky tofu over brown ric. By the time that's done, the bok choy is steamed. I swish it around to get up as much sauce as possible, and then onto the place with the rice and tofu it goes. Dinner! Life is so good. ;o)

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

6 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

That should have been, "slosh a couple tablespoons of water" . .. . ;o)

Default-small

6 months ago Teri Lewis

Shaoxing wine is Chinese rice wine. Dry sherry can be substituted.

Default-small

6 months ago Horto

where do we get that odd wine?
what can we sub for it?

Dsc09796

6 months ago Sarah Jampel

Sarah is Food52's assistant editor.

I'm with you on this one: never molest tofu.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

6 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Whoa, this looks so delicious! Cannot wait to try it. ;o)

Stringio

6 months ago Kierstan Peck

Yeah, this looks amazing!