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 homestyle tofu stir-fry is my go-to recipe to satisfy any tofu craving. It’s called homestyle tofu for very good reason (at least in our house) because it’s been on our meal rotation for many, many years now.
The dish does have pork in it, but for all you vegetarians and vegans out there, 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. If you don’t eat pork, you can also feel free to substitute ground chicken.
By the way, since the tofu is pan-fried first in this recipe, I’ll take this opportunity to share another cooking tip on pan-frying. We used to use non-stick pans. I would buy one, use it for a few months, and once it would inevitably get scratched up beyond safe use, I would replace it with another new one.
I think I have thrown out no less than a dozen non-stick pans over the years. 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 a non-stick pan, 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 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. This cooking method works really well in a wok, too!
Homestyle Tofu Recipe Instructions:
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!
Heat a flat-bottomed cast iron pan over medium high heat. Before it starts to smoke, add 1 tablespoon of 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 oil divided
- 1 pound firm tofu (450g, pat dry, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/4" slices)
- 2 cloves garlic (smashed and chopped)
- 1 red chili pepper (deseeded and thinly sliced)
- 3 scallions (cut into 1” pieces, with the white parts separated from the green parts)
- 4 oz. ground pork (110g; can substitute ground chicken)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (can substitute other rice wine or dry cooking sherry)
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt (to taste)
- Heat a flat-bottomed cast iron pan over medium high heat. Before it starts to smoke, 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 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.