Stir-Fried Veggies and Tofu

What makes a good stir-fry?

Sometimes all I want for dinner is a big bowl of steaming rice (or noodles) topped with stir-fried veggies, tofu, perhaps a little meat, and, maybe (always) a fried egg. And so, my friends, I ask you, what makes a good stir-fry?

Is it the farmers’ market veggies?

Is it the wok?

Is it the non-farmers’ market add-ins?

Is it how the veggies are chopped?

Is it the sauce?

Stir-Fry Sauce
Adapted from this 1995 Bon Appetite recipe

¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Sherry
1 T. honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. orange zest

Whisk ingredients. Set aside until ready to cook.

Note: I often add some finely minced ginger as well. It adds a wonderful flavor.

Is it the rice?
(This is brown basmati, but I would love to get my hands on some of that short-grained brown rice served at Chinese restaurants.)

Is it the Sriracha?
Dousing the bowl with Sriracha is a must.

Simple Stir-Fry:

I wish I could give more detailed instructions/measurements, but this truly is a no-measure recipe.

1. Cook rice — whatever you like. Set aside. Prepare sauce (recipe above). Set aside.

2. Chop all of your ingredients. The stir-fry takes five minutes of cooking once all the veggies are prepared, so it’s best to have everything chopped ahead of time. This is what I used: onion, cabbage, baby bok choy, rapini, cilantro, snow peas, zucchini, scallions, tofu and peanuts. Be sure to wash the bok choy.

3. Heat wok with about one tablespoon of canola oil until smoking hot. (Alternatively, heat wok without oil, then add oil once hot — I’m not really sure what the difference is, but I think it depends on your pan.) Add tofu cubes and let brown until nice and crispy on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove tofu from wok and set aside.

4. Add onions and zucchini to wok. Let cook until onions are slightly browned. Refrain from stirring — just let the vegetables brown. Add the cabbage, rapini, and bok choy and cook for another two minutes. Stir briefly. Add, the snow peas, scallions, cilantro and peanuts. Add about a ¼ cup (or less) of the sauce and let cook for about a minute. Add the tofu. Turn off the heat. Top rice with veggies and douse with Sriracha.


  1. Manggy says

    Hmm.. All of the above! 😉 That looks like the perfect stir-fry. I really should pick up a bottle of sriracha one of these days :)

  2. Maris says

    This sounds really good. I made somewhat of a mock stir fry the other night – I just sort of took a whole bunch of veggies and tossed them in a wok with some chicken broth, soy sauce and honey. I think I had the heat up too high and I didn’t really use enough oil. It tasted decent but not like an authentic stir-fry. It wasn’t blog-worthy!

    Your veggie combination sounds great!

  3. Sara says

    This looks great, I made a tofu stir fry a few weeks ago from Cooking Light called Buddha’s Delight, I was pretty happy with it.

  4. Apples and Butter says

    I love a good stir fry! It’s so great for loading up on the veggies and I’m with you on the sriracha! Love all of the pictures as well.

    I’ve noticed in one of your older posts that you spent some time working in a restaurant. Did you go to culinary school or work in restaurants for some time?

  5. Clumbsy Cookie says

    The perfect stir-fry? The one that goes into my tummy! I have a looooooot of stir-fries for lunch and love them. Gorgeous one you made here, such beautiful pictures!

  6. Rowena says

    The veggies! Definitely the veggies! I think I shall take a cue here and look for greens to make a great stirfry. Despite the plethora of produce, it is a very meat (and spam!) oriented food culture here. I need me some greens!!!

  7. katie says

    That looks like such a wonderful stir fry, I don’t think I would even mind the tofu if it looked like that! I have seen the brown short grain rice at whole foods before in the bulk area. I LOVE short grain rice.

  8. Foodycat says

    Oh you are good! I can never get my tofu crisp without it falling apart (which is why I cop out and buy deepfried).

  9. alexandra's kitchen says

    GINGER! That’s what it needed. I think bean sprouts are a nice addition too. I’m so glad you liked it, Bates!

  10. RecipeGirl says

    Beautiful post. I’ve never gotten into tofu much in stir fries, but I love just about everything else. And for me it’s the sauce that really ‘makes’ it.

    Have you traveling down to 99 Ranch in Claremont Mesa? It’s heaven for Asian ingredient shoppers!

  11. biz319 says

    Love the crust on your tofu!

    Also, I tagged you – don’t feel obligated if you don’t want to!

    My daughter and I could have stir fry every day – hubby isn’t such a fan though!

  12. We Are Never Full says

    it’s clearly all of the above but i would say the best stir-fry’s use older rice (rice that was cooked the day before). it’s also the key to fried rice, but if you have cruddy rice, you can’t save a stir fry!

  13. eke says

    This was a great inspiration! I made it last night for James and me and it was very successful. I added cut-up scrambled egg to the mix and used noodles instead of rice. yum!

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