Tofu, Napa Cabbage & Delicata Squash Stew

November 13, 2020
11 Ratings
Photo by WoonHeng Chia
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I always look forward to comforting food as the weather changes, and this delicious vegetable stew fits the bill. It's also much easier to make than you may think.

This stew is made from sweet Napa cabbage, pan-fried tofu, and tender Delicata squash. It’s also lightly seasoned with umami-rich sauces and a little heat from Thai chile. (The squash lends a sweet flavor to offset some of that spice.)

The best part about this dish is that you can make this in under an hour. This recipe is also easily customizable. Substitute Savoy or green cabbage for Napa cabbage or use squashes of your choice for the sweetness. It’s really easy and you’ll have a cozy meal at your dinner table in no time.
WoonHeng Chia

What You'll Need
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 14 ounces medium-firm tofu, sliced into thick planks
  • 3 cups small delicata squash, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 cups Napa cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup beech or enoki mushrooms, cleaned and separated
  • green onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 Thai chiles, sliced (optional but recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine (optional)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 dash toasted sesame oil, for serving
  1. To a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Add the tofu planks to the hot oil and pan-fry the tofu until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the tofu and set it aside.
  2. Fill a ceramic pot (I used a Donabe) or tall saucepan with layers of Napa cabbage. Then, top with delicata squash, mushrooms, and green onions. Add tofu as the final layer.
  3. To make the sauce, heat your now-empty nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a bit more vegetable oil. Once that shimmers, add the ginger and sauté until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and chiles and and stir-fry until fragrant, another minute more. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and Shaoxing wine and combine well. The mixture will start to bubble slightly. Slowly add in the vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a rolling boil and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  4. Ladle the sauce over the vegetable-filled Donabe (or tall pot), then place a lid over and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the Napa cabbage is tender.
  5. Serve warm, with a pinch of white pepper and drizzle of toasted sesame oil over each serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Beth Brann
    Beth Brann
  • WoonHeng Chia
    WoonHeng Chia
  • cassy
  •  Burton

14 Reviews

cassy September 24, 2022
I love the flavors in this dish! I will make again with the following adjustments: more mushrooms, more chopped Napa cabbage raw as a garnish for crunch, and reserve green parts of scallions to garnish at the end. I also garnished with sesame seeds. Would be great with rice too.
Burton January 16, 2022
This was ok, but more prep than I was expecting. Pan frying the tofu took a lot longer than I thought it would, since you can only fit so many pieces in a pan. The taste is decent, but I'm not blown away by it, and the tofu is too large to pick up and eat easily. I liked it, but I'm not sure if I will make it again. If I do, I will just use those already fried tofu cubes that you can buy; I think that that would make the recipe much easier to make, and easier to eat as well.
Rebecca B. January 11, 2022
My whole family liked It! My teenager who complains about vegetable had seconds. My 6 year old happily ate it. A miracle recipe
JustOneBite February 27, 2021
This was really delicious! Next time, I’m going to double the cabbage. It was so good but shrank so much! I didn’t have oyster sauce, so used Indonesian sweet soy sauce. Followed other poster’s tip and used dried mushrooms (a mixture) and then used the soaking water along with vegetable stock. And half a regular onion, sliced super thin since I was out of green onions.
Beth B. February 19, 2021
Wish I could attach a photo. This was so easy and so delicious. I used shiitake mushroom, and serrano chili pepper. I seasoned the tofu slices with some 5-spice powder before pan-frying them. My cooking vessel wasn't tall enough so I would have liked to have fit more cabbage, as it really collapsed upon cooking. Loved the vegetarian oyster sauce, and I added a teaspoon of chili crisp. I served this over brown rice. Thank you for something nutritious and delicious!
WoonHeng C. February 19, 2021
That's so awesome, Beth. I'm really to hear that you loved this recipe. I love 5-spice powder, what a great spice. Totally agreed that more cabbage is the best plus it adds a layer of extra sweetness to this dish. Thanks so much for your feedback and hope you get to try other recipes soon. Best, WoonHeng
txchick57 February 10, 2021
All of your recipes are wonderful. You should write a cookbook. Happy New Year.
WoonHeng C. February 19, 2021
aww, you are too kind. Thanks so much for your encouragement. Stay safe and take good care. Best, WoonHeng
spatula-bob February 5, 2021
This was outstanding. I didn't have fresh mushrooms but did have dried porcini. I used the liquid from reconstituting with equal parts veggie broth for the liquid in the sauce. This gave it an extraordinary flavor. I also had to use garnet sweet potatoes (cut in thin half moon discs) in lieu of delicata squash, but this gave it all a lovely sweetness that balanced the spice from the bird's eye chilis. I can't believe how delicious and easy this was. It did take me longer to prepare than I had expected, but it was 100% worth it.
WoonHeng C. February 5, 2021
Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback. I love porcini and your substitutes sound delicious and perfect. So glad to hear you loved and enjoyed the recipe. A plus for the spice too. Yum!
Carrie December 20, 2020
Delicious! A quick dish to make with complex flavors. Will definitely make again.
WoonHeng C. February 5, 2021
Thanks so much Carrie. So glad to hear you loved the recipe.
mstv November 18, 2020
I used savoy cabbage, kabocha squash, and shitake mushrooms. I also used homemade chicken stock. It was great! My husband and 7 month old loved it too!
WoonHeng C. November 18, 2020
Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback, I love your options. Kabocha is really one of my favorites too. So glad your family loves it. Thank you! Best, WoonHeng