We are dedicated carnivores and have been for years on end. Having a meal that is entirely vegetarian is completely alien to us – there is at least an egg present in every meal, if not a kind of meat or fish. This however changes on poya days (full moon) when Mother Dearest insists that we go all veg with not even an egg in sight. These are difficult times for us all yes, but over the years we have quite grown accustomed to tolerating this none day of pure vegetarianism.
This sesame tofu stir fry is something that was concocted on one of those days when we could simply bear not having anything at least texturally meaty. I was aiming for cottage cheese but found tofu in the supermarket instead and it went quite well with the Asian flavours I have used in this. And we didn’t miss the meat at all that day!
- Prep Time : 10 minutes
- Cook Time : 15 minutes
- Yield : 3 servings
- Tofu - 250g
- Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage) - 500g
- Sesame seeds - 100g
- Ginger - 2 tsps grated, crushed or sliced thinly
- Sesame oil - 1 tsp
- Sunflower oil/ Vegetable oil/Canola oil/Peanut oil - 2 tblsps
- Dark soy sauce - 2 tblsps
- Honey - 1 tblsp
- Chili flakes - 2 tblsps
- Salt - to taste
- Pepper - to taste
- Onions - 3, sliced
- Dry the tofu with paper towels. Make sure all the moisture had been patted dry.
- Cut the tofu into 1’ long ½’ pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a wok. Add to this the sunflower oil and the sesame oil. Let heat
- Add the crushed ginger. Once it’s golden, add the tofu. Fry till golden brown and solid. Remove from wok and set aside.
- Add the sesame seeds to the wok. Fry till crispy. Add the onion and saute till golden brown. Add the bok choy. Saute till wilted.
- Add salt pepper and chili flakes. Add the stir fried tofu to the pan. Mix well.
- Serve with rice or with noodles!
This is a lovely, nutty, flavoursome dish that is full of textural contrasts that you will love if you are a meat eater trying to go veg. What first hits you is the sweet caramel of the honey. Through this the hit of heat from the chili flakes emerges and is enveloped by the umami of the soy. The leafy green taste of the bok choy blends well with the nuttiness of the sesame seeds and the sesame oil and clothed in a thick honeyed syrup, the tofu has absorbed the flavours and mirrors the taste profiles that it is surrounded by, albeit in a milder manner but with the bite that stir frying brings. The tofu has a bite on the outside but is soft on the inside, with the sesame seeds popping in your mouth with every bite. The bok choy is soft and leafy at one point and crunchy in others with the deliciously syrupy mixture coating it, gliding across the tongue. The soft fluffiness of the rice brings out the flavours of the stir fry exceptionally well as each mouthful bursts with flavour at every bite.
- Be careful when handling the tofu. It is very soft and is prone to break quickly. Practice extra care when drying, cubing and stir frying these babies.
- Go easy with the sesame oil. The first time I made the dish I made the mistake of adding too much and making the dish a little too bitter.
- Wash and sieve the sesame seeds for good measure. I have discovered that sesame seed packets available out there contain certain amounts of sand and stones and this has been true whether it has been bought from a supermarket or from a wayward shop. I of course found this out the hard way.
- Clean the bok choy thoroughly. I soak them in salt water for about 20 minutes and wash them thoroughly before use.
- You can of course, adjust the amount of honey and the chili flakes to use. This combination works best for me but you can work out your own too.