This home style tofu recipe is as delicious as it is comforting. With a small amount of ground pork, some aromatics, and a light sauce, it’s perfect over rice and so easy to make.
Note: This recipe was originally published on December 26, 2015. We have since updated it with clearer photos, metric measurements, and nutrition information. The recipe is still the same. Enjoy!
Our Love of Tofu
Like many Asians, I don’t think I can go a week without eating tofu, and I know Sarah is the same—that girl loves the stuff. This home style tofu stir-fry is my go-to recipe to satisfy any tofu craving.
It’s called home style tofu for very good reason (at least in our house), because we’ve been making it for many, many years now.
Any home style tofu recipe will be that chef or that family’s spin on the dish. It can vary widely. Sarah actually developed quite a different home style tofu recipe for our cookbook, with wood ears, peppers, and more sauce. It’s also very tasty—check out our book on page 249 for that recipe.
This version does have pork in it, but you can also substitute ground chicken. For all you vegetarians and vegans out there as well, don’t pass on this dish! It’s easy to replace the pork with diced mushrooms or bell peppers to make this into a tasty vegetarian/vegan dish. The cooking process and spices are the same.
By the way, since we pan-fry the tofu slices first in this recipe, I’ll take this opportunity to share another cooking tip on pan-frying. You can use a nonstick pan, but I prefer using a cast iron skillet or a wok.
I think I have thrown out no less than a dozen non-stick pans over the years, once they get scratched up and beyond safe use. This was our standard rigamarole until one day, I watched an episode of Pioneer Woman and listened to her talking about her cast-iron pan; long story short, we’ve been hooked ever since. How right was she?! When used correctly, a cast iron pan works so much better than non-stick—not to mention it lasts a lifetime or two.
Here is my quick tip: when pan-frying, I first heat up my cast-iron pan till it starts to lightly smoke (by the way, this method does not apply to a non-stick pan, which cannot be heated too high), add the oil (the hot pan heats the oil very quickly at this point), add the tofu, lower the heat to medium, and let cook for about 3 minutes before flipping and frying the other side.
We use firm tofu here, which is easier than soft tofu to pan-fry. Pat it dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel before slicing. If you prefer soft tofu, however, you can also follow Sarah’s crispy tofu method, which doesn’t require deep-frying.
For more complete information on different types of tofu, check out our latest Chinese ingredients Tofu and Bean Curd page where you’ll find more information on the tofu used in this recipe and more!
Homestyle Tofu Recipe Instructions:
Heat a flat-bottomed cast iron pan over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. (If using non-stick, just heat until the pan is hot.)
Add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil (such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil), and tilt the pan so the oil coats the bottom of the pan. Add the firm tofu and pan-fry on both sides—3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Next add the ground pork (or chicken) and stir fry for a minute until meat is cooked through.
Finally, add in the pan-fried tofu and the green parts of the scallions. Turn up the heat, and quickly stir-fry everything together. Add salt to taste and serve.
How easy was that! We hope you add this homestyle tofu stir fry dish to your rotation!
Home-Style Tofu Stir-fry
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil (divided)
- 1 pound firm tofu (pat dry, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch/0.6cm slices)
- 2 cloves garlic (smashed and chopped)
- 1 red chili pepper (deseeded and thinly sliced)
- 3 scallions (cut into 1-inch/2.5cm pieces, with the white parts separated from the green parts)
- 4 oz. ground pork (or ground chicken)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt (to taste)
- Heat a flat-bottomed cast iron pan over medium high heat until lightly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, and tilt the pan so the oil coats the bottom of the pan. Add the tofu and pan fry on both sides—3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Heat the second tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium heat. Cook the garlic, chili, and the white parts of the scallions for about a minute. Next add the ground pork (or chicken) and stir fry for a minute until meat is cooked through.
- Add the light soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Finally, add the pan-fried tofu and the green parts of the scallions. Turn up the heat, and quickly stir-fry everything together. Add salt to taste and serve.