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Sunday, 19 January 2020

Tofu Bell Pepper Stir-Fry


Stir-fried tofu and bell pepper make up for a delicious and soulful dish that can be enjoyed on its own or served over some steamed rice, noodles or quinoa. Colorful veggies and oven-dried tofu chunks are tossed in a flavorful sauce made up of seasoned orange juice and soy sauce to make this vegan tofu bell pepper stir-fry. Chilly flakes, toasted sesame seeds and crushed black pepper corns beautifully balance the sweet and tangy taste of the sauce. 


Frankly speaking, my family is not a great fan of tofu perhaps as we have grown up relishing on our desi paneer (cottage cheese). I do use tofu in my cooking rarely though but was never satisfied with the cooking technique. My tofu would keep sticking to the wok in stir-fries making it crumbly. But, trust me this tofu bell pepper stir fry was by far the best tofu dish we enjoyed. The reason was that i oven roasted the tofu pieces prior to adding it to my stir fry which made them crusty and chewy with meat like texture. I served the stir-fry over steamed rice and my family had a hearty lunch. I would not mind having it on its own though.

Preparing Tofu for Stir-fry

Use extra firm tofu variety for this stir fry. Rinse it well with water and then tap it between clean kitchen towel or tissue paper to take out all the moisture. Keep changing the tissue if it becomes soggy. Now, cut the tofu block into 1 inch rectangular pieces. Now, arrange the tofu chunks on a greased or lined baking tray and allow it to oven-dry in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes, flipping the sides midway.  Result ? Crusty chewy tofu bites with meat like texture which took up the flavors of the sauce very well. I got this idea of oven-drying the tofu from here. Another way of making tofu flavorful in a stir-fry is to coat it in a slurry of corn starch and then shallow fry it in a pan to get a crusty texture prior to adding it to any stir-fry.


Vegetables that can be used in this Stir-fry

I have used colored bell peppers (red and yellow), yellow onion, garlic, ginger and broccoli in this stir-fry along with oven-dried tofu chunks. You may use any veggie of your choice like, green beans, baby corn, carrots , green onion etc. Remember to chop all the veggies in the same size as that of the tofu bites and toss them on high flame in an open wok so that they retain a bit crispiness and do not turn soggy.


The sauce for the Stir-Fry

A very simple yet flavorful sauce is made by combining just 5 ingredients, Soy-sauce, fresh orange juice, brown sugar, salt and corn flour. A slurry is made and added to the stir fry which coats the veggies and tofu very well giving it a glossy texture and lending a lovely sweet and sour taste to the stir-fry. Chilly flakes, toasted sesame seeds and freshly crushed black pepper corns compliment very well with the sauce.

                         

Chinese New Year: Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is usually referred to as Spring festival in mainland China and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Chinese New Year is the grandest festival in China, with a 7 day long holiday. I have many delightful memories of Chinese New Year celebrations during our stay in Penang, Malaysia.  It's was a delight to watch the Chinese temples, malls and other public places decked in iconic red lanterns, the loud fireworks and massive banquets and parades. In 2020 Chinese New Year festival falls on January 25. It is the year of the Rat according to the Chinese Zodiac, which features a 12-year cycle with each year represented by a specific animal. Following is the pic of the famous Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang during the time of Chinese New Year. Here's wishing a very blessed Rat year to all those who celebrate ! " Gong Xi Fa Chai "

                              

Related event : Chinese New Year @ Foodie Monday Blog Hop

Like Christmas in Western countries, Chinese New Year is a time to be home with family, chatting, drinking, cooking, and enjoying a hearty meal together. Considering this Preethi di who blogs at Preethicuisine suggested that we celebrate Chinese New Year on our Gourmet Facebook group, Foodie Monday Blog Hop by showcasing the dishes typically prepared for the festivity. I already have the traditional Pineapple Jam Tarts on the blog. These Malaysian style festive pineapple cookies are considered as sign of prosperity and made specifically for the Chinese new Year. This time, I prepared this colorful and flavorful tofu bell pepper stir-fry for the theme which is a simple vegetarian dish that is one of the vegetarian dishes served either on its own or as a side dish over rice or noodles during Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, do check out Preethi di's Chinese Style steamed eggplant which i am going to try out next. You would also love her Mixed lentil masala vada recipe.  

                                
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams extra firm tofu 
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
For the Sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • Salt to taste

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. First we will begin with preparing the tofu for the stir fry. For that rinse the tofu well with clean drinking water and then press it in a clean kitchen towel or between tissue papers to remove most of the moisture from it. Keep changing the tissue papers if it gets soggy.



2. Now, chop the tofu into 1 inch long rectangular pieces and arrange them on a greased or lined baking tray.



3. Transfer the baking tray in a preheated oven and allow the tofu pieces to roast at 200 degrees Celsius for around 20-25 minutes. Flip the tofu pieces midway so that they become golden brown from all sides.


4. Mean while, we will prepare the sauce and chop the veggies for the stir fry. In a mixing bowl take the orange juice and add salt, brown sugar and soy sauce to it. Give a good stir. Add corn flout to this and blend well until you get a lump free slurry. Our sauce is ready. Peel and slice the onion. Peep and grate the ginger and mine or slice the garlic. Keep aside. Rinse, deseed and chop the bell peppers lengthwise. Make sure all the veggies are cut into the size as that of the tofu. Rinse and chop the broccoli into florets. Keep all the ingredients of the stir-fry handy.


5. When our tofu is ready, heat oil in a wok and add grated ginger and minced garlic to it. Saute for few seconds. Now, add the sliced onions and stir fry for about 1 minute on high flame.


6. Next, add the colored bell peppers and broccoli and stir fry for 2-3 minutes on high flame before stirring in the sauce.



7. Lastly tip in the oven roasted tofu pieces followed by chili flakes, toasted sesame seeds and crushed black pepper. Blend everything very well until the sauce coats evenly to all the veggies and tofu pieces. You may do a taste test at this stage and add more seasonings if required as per your liking. Simmer and allow to stir fry to cook for another 3-5 minutes and put off the flame.



8. Serve the delicious tofu bell pepper stir-fry on its own or as a side dish over steamed rice or noodles and enjoy with your loved ones !

                       

Recipe Notes:
  • I have roughly adapted the recipe from here.
  • I have oven roasted the tofu prior to adding it to the stir fry. Another way of making tofu flavorful is to coat it in a slurry of corn starch and then shallow fry it in a pan to get a crusty texture prior to adding it to any stir-fry.
  • I have used colored bell peppers (red and yellow), yellow onion, garlic, ginger and broccoli in this stir-fry along with oven-dried tofu chunks. You may use any veggie of your choice like, green beans, baby corn, carrots , green onion etc. 
  • Remember to chop all the veggies in the same size as that of the tofu bites and toss them on high flame in an open wok so that they retain a bit crispiness and do not turn soggy.
  • Serve the delicious tofu bell pepper stir-fry on its own or as a side dish over steamed rice or noodles or cooked quinoa for a soulful meal. 
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
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15 comments :

  1. Spicy tofu stir fry looks flavorful, Poonam! Love the tofu recipe!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Ravneet. Do give it a try sometime.

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  2. To be honest, tofu isn't much appreciated at our place too, except in certain Thai dishes. This Tofu Stir Fry looks so flavourful - I think my family will like it. :)

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    Replies
    1. You should definitely try out this tofu bell pepper stir fry Priya. I am sure you will like it as much as we did.

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  3. Tofu is a surely no-no at my place, but am loving the vinaigerette made from the orange juice :) will try the same recipe with paneer, perhaps

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    Replies
    1. With paneer this stir fry will taste even better. Do share your feedback with us once you try it. Thanks Kalyani.

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  4. Due to health reasons I avoid Tofu in cooking.. but the platter looks so delectable Poonam !!Crunchy veggies with steamed rice and Tofu are so inviting.. love stir frys as these are quick to make and rich in flavours!!

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely Swati ! This tofu bell pepper stir fry is quick and easy to make and tastes so delicious. Thank you.

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  5. We don't like tofu but your stir fry looks so tempting. Loved this colorful and delicious stir fry. Who can say no to this flavorful and tasty stir fry. Orange juice definitely enhance the taste of veggies. Awesome share.

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    Replies
    1. Even we do not like tofu as much as we love paneer, but this stir fry did turn our really well and you are right di, fresh orange juice takes this dish one level up. Glad you liked it.

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  6. We are not a great fan of tofu .This tofu bell pepper stir fry looks delectable.Love the riot of colours.

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  7. Tofu bell pepper looks very delicious with very attractive presentation Poonam. Using orange juice in sauce surely added more taste to veggies.

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  8. I am too eyeing to make this, hopefully sooner. Your version with all the bell peppers sounds yum. I can really enjoy this as is.

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  9. Such a colorful and tempting stir fry Poonam. I love tofu so this is a dish I don't mind making often. I like your suggestion of roasting the tofu in the oven first.

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  10. Never tried tofu and this looks so colorful and delicious stir fry with capsicum and tofu. Love the use of orange juice and sauces

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