This Peanut Tofu Stir Fry is super flavourful, really easy to make and makes a perfect quick yet healthy dinner! And the guys at Mic News seem to agree, as I had this recipe featured in their article 10 Easy Dinner Recipes That Your Heart (And Wallet) Will Thank You For.
My main goal for this dish was to find a way to cook an entirely plant-based dish using tofu that could be enjoyed by vegans and omnivores alike. So don’t stop reading this just because you’re not vegan or gluten-free, because I made it specifically for everyone to enjoy!
Tofu seems to get a bad rap in the West, where a lot of people I’ve talked to about it seem to think that it’s something that should only be eaten by vegetarians or vegans.
I think the reason could be that there aren’t very many different varieties of tofu easily available in supermarkets in the West, with the only distinction being made between firm, hard tofu and soft, silken tofu. Whereas in Japan, for example, you can find countless different varieties, all with slightly different consistencies, flavours and textures, which are all respectively suited for a variety of different dishes. So, whilst in Japan tofu is celebrated as a delicious ingredient of its own accord, I find that in the UK a lot of people tend to see tofu as a meat substitute. And, unfortunately, if you cook it expecting it to taste like meat, then you’re likely to be disappointed when you sit down to eat it, because the only thing it really has in common with meat is that it contains a lot of protein.
I think it’s a shame that tofu isn’t more popular because it’s really delicious when seasoned it properly, and it’s great healthy protein alternative to meat.
An issue I encountered in my quest for an entirely plant-based tofu dish that could be enjoyed by vegans and omnivores alike is that although tofu is an integral part of the national cuisine in many Oriental countries, it’s usually served as a side dish alongside dishes containing meat or fish. But I wanted to create something that would make tofu taste delicious enough to make it the star of the show for once.
I decided, therefore, that to make the tofu as flavourful as possible, I would cut it up into small cubes and dip it into a flavourful marinade before cooking. I used this Cauldron Original Tofu, which is a hard, firm tofu that you can buy in most supermarkets.
The marinade is a simple 4-ingredient sauce made with peanut butter, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and vinegar.
Then just fry the tofu with a small amount of oil, which makes the outside crisp and slightly caramelised, whilst the inside remained beautifully tender. The result is an umami-packed, perfectly caramelised, salty-sweet sauce that beautifully envelops the tofu and vegetables. I added red onion, carrots, French beans, sweet red peppers and coriander to the stir fry, but you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand, which makes it great for cleaning out the fridge.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 2 tablespoons oil (coconut, vegetable or rapeseed), for frying
- 400g (14oz) hard, firm tofu
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
- 200g (7oz) French beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 sweet red pepper, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce (you can substitute with chilli and sugar if you don’t have this)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari if gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (rice or apple cider)
- Roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Pat tofu dry with a paper towel before cutting into small cubes
- In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the marinade
- Place the tofu in a large bowl, along with half of the marinade
- Make sure that every piece is covered in equal amounts of sauce - leave for minimum 5 minutes or keep covered in the fridge for up to 12 hours
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan (non-stick is best!) and add tofu cubes once hot
- Fry the tofu on a medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side – or until crispy, golden brown and slightly caramelised
- Once the tofu is done, set aside
- Add the remaining marinade to the same bowl that the tofu was in, along with the onion, carrot, French beans and red pepper, and mix well
- Heat up another tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan and add all vegetables once hot
- Fry for about 10 minutes until softened
- Once the vegetables are done, you can either put the tofu back in the frying pan to warm it up again, or just eat!
- Serve alongside rice, and sprinkle with peanuts and coriander