Cooking for one can be a challenge sometimes, especially when we have random ingredients in the pantry and fridge. Armed with a block of tofu, frozen vegetables, a jar of peanut satay, and hope for an awesome meal I called my mother and we came up with an idea for something quite amazing. If I had more ingredients, or the will to go to the grocery store . . . this meal definitely would have possessed the potential to be restaurant quality. Instead, I came up with something delicious and healthy on the fly.
Fried Tofu & Peanut Satay Stir Fry
- 1 package extra firm tofu
- shredded carrots (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup sliced peppers (mine were frozen, mix of yellow, red, and green)
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger (paste)
- 1 large clove garlic, grated or minced
- 3 tablespoons peanut satay (from a jar, you can make this yourself as well)
- splash (2 cap-fuls) rice vinegar
- coarse ground black pepper
- chili powder
- all purpose flour
- Panko bread crumbs
- Pam or other vegetable spray
- vegetable oil for frying tofu
Okay, so that seems like a crazy amount of ingredients but this goes together quickly! I've divided the recipe ingredients into groups. The first group being all the veggies you need, second group is the spices and sauce you flavor the stir fry with, third group is what you need for coating the tofu, and then lastly oil for frying. First off, drain and thoroughly rinse your tofu. Press it firmly between paper towels or a dry towel until most of the moisture has been absorbed. If you have a tofu press, then I'm jealous and you should really use it for this recipe. Divide your tofu in half width wise, and then continue cutting it into small 1 inch cubes.
After you have sliced and cubed your tofu, press it again between 2 layers of paper towels. You want to get it as dry as possible. In a Ziploc bag combine 2 parts Panko to 1 part flour. Add a twist of black pepper and a sprinkle of chili powder to help flavor the tofu. Add the tofu to the bag, and toss gently to coat. I let it sit in the bag for a few minutes, giving it a chance to soak up the powder mixture and dry out a bit more. In a skillet, heat 1 to 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add in your tofu and brown all sides evenly. I didn't have much oil, so I used a very small frying pan and did this in three batches. When the tofu is added to the pan, the surface level of the oil rises to help fry the tofu faster. I would do a tester with one cube to see if your oil is hot enough, if there is enough flavor, and to see how crispy you want it. The crispier the better, because the tofu will get soggy if it sits out for too long.
After the tofu is fried, let sit on paper towels and make sure the tofu cubes aren't touching one another. In a large skillet, combine onion, garlic, and ginger and saute with a teaspoon of oil. After a couple minutes add in your carrots and peppers and saute until the veggies cook out all the extra water from freezing. Add the 3 tablespoons of your peanut satay, splash of rice vinegar, and cook until hot and fragrant. Stir in peas just before serving so they stay bright and crisp. I steamed my broccoli and plated it, laid the stir fry over the broccoli and gently tossed in some of my tofu at the last minute. Top with toasted sesame seeds and dig in! This is best when eaten immediately, if you're cooking for one I would only use 1/2 the block of tofu and reserve the other half for later, it will not be good if fried and not eaten immediately.