Easy Tuesday Dinner; Tofu Stir-Fry

by formerchef on May 26, 2009


I really debated for a while with myself as to whether or not I should post this recipe.
Not because I don’t want to share.
Not because it’s not good.
But because it uses a bottled sauce (gasp!) and thus is not 100% home made.

I really don’t want this to be one of those blogs about how to use prepared foods to make it look like you slaved all day in the kitchen. Rather, I want to show people how easy it can be to make wonderful food, even when you get home late from work on a Tuesday and all you want to do is sit in front of your Tivo and catch up on episodes of CSI.

The reality is that it’s a rare cook who makes everything from scratch all the of time. Sometimes it just needs to be easy. This is one of my go-to dishes after sitting in hellish LA traffic for an hour and a half to go 25 miles to get home. And yet, for some reason, I’m still willing to make dinner instead of ordering take-out. It could be because I’m cheap, but I prefer to think it’s because I want to eat a healthy home cooked meal.

So, about the sauce… It’s called “Soyaki” and I buy it at Trader Joe’s. There’s also a sauce called “Soy Vey Veri Veri Teriyaki” which can be bought in just about any supermarket. I think they are the same sauce, different label. And no, I have no connection with either company other than I buy the sauce. In general, I don’t like “teriyaki” sauce because I find it too salty, but I like this because it has a touch of sweetness, ginger and sesame with all natural ingredients (no artificial nothin’).

The whole meal takes about 20 minutes start to finish, depending on how much rice I put in my rice cooker. After I start the rice, I cut up all the veg and tofu (or sometimes chicken), heat up the wok, stir-fry the ingredients, add the sauce and by the time I’m done, the rice is ready. I can now relax, and with something good to eat, turn on my TV, and try to forget the gridlock.


Leave a comment and tell me what you make for your Easy Tuesday Dinners…


Tofu Stir-Fry

stirfryingred 8 oz Firm Tofu,  patted dry and cut into 1″ cubes
8 oz eggplant, diced 1″
6 oz sliced mushrooms
4 oz sliced carrots
2 oz sliced green onions
2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup Soyaki Sauce
1 tsp chili garlic paste
2-3 Tbsp canola oil

steamed rice

Start the rice cooking.

Pat dry the tofu and dice into 1″ cubes. Cut and prep all the other vegetables, garlic and ginger.

stirfrytofuHeat a wok very hot and add 1 Tbsp canola oil. Add the tofu. Add half the ginger and half the garlic to the tofu after 3 minutes. Cook until the tofu is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Take the tofu out of the pan and set aside temporarily in a bowl.

Reheat the wok and add 1 Tbsp canola oil. Add in hard vegetables (like carrots) and then mushrooms. Cook until tender and add to tofu in bowl.

Add remaining oil to wok and add eggplant, cooking until it starts to get brown and tender. Add remaining garlic and ginger, stir-fry 1 minute. Add back in tofu and other cooked vegetables. Add soyaki sauce and chili garlic paste. Turn the heat down to medium and let cook for 2 minutes so the vegetables and tofu absorb the flavors of the sauce. Add in green onions and toss. Serve with steamed rice.

stirfrycarrot   stirfryall

Recipe Notes:
Of course, you can use whatever vegetables you like or have on hand; red and yellow bell peppers, squash and zucchini, asparagus, onions, snowpeas, even a bag of frozen “stir-fry” vegetables will work. I just use what is in my ‘fridge on that day.
Leave out the chili sauce if you don’t want a bit of spice.
If you let it cook too long, all the sauce will reduce away and you may need to add a little more.

Download PDF of recipe to print

Tofu on Foodista

1 Mom May 27, 2009 at 8:45 am

Is there a rule somewhere that says IF you cook that EVERYTHING has to be made from scratch? I must have missed that one–using what’s good, and what’s available rather than the phone is what makes someone a good cook. Of course, I would have been more glowing in my response had you asked ME to come for Tuesday night dinner…

2 Vivian Boroff May 28, 2009 at 11:27 pm

This looks really delicious! We eat a lot of stir fry in our house and although I make a killer teriyaki sauce I buy Yoshida sauce when I don’t feel like making it.

3 thumbbook May 29, 2009 at 1:28 am

Hi Kristina, I followed you from the foodieblogroll and I just made this for dinner using some of the veggies I have hiding in the fridge. This is delicious! Hope you wont mind,I’d love to guide our readers to your site, just add this foodista widget to this post and it’s all set to go, Thanks! -Alisa@Foodista.com

4 zoe May 29, 2009 at 9:14 am

This looks simple and yummy. On days that I don’t have a lot of time to cook, I just throw some pasta in water, sautee a few veggies and top with feta!

5 KrisBelucci June 1, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

6 Tiffany June 5, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Ah, eggplant… yet again you taunt me by allowing another to create a fabulous dish with you. Why do you hate me?!

7 formerchef June 5, 2009 at 6:15 pm

No hate here, only love. 🙂

8 HoneyB June 7, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Looks very yummy! I don’t know if I could find that sauce around here…I will have to look at the co-op or natural food store!

9 Santiago Perez July 26, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Just made this dish- thanks for a great recipe.
I’m not much of a cook, and out in Oahu this summer by myself.
The landscape is inspiring me to try lots of new things, and this is one of them.
I’ll definitely cook this up for my family when I get home!

10 formerchef July 27, 2009 at 7:27 am

So happy you liked it! Thanks!

11 Anna September 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I’ve been collecting stiry fry recipes and just came across this one. Q: Why do I see so much canola oil in stir fry recipes? I suspect there is a food science reason. I prefer the taste of sesame oil and add a bit of olive oil as I think it helps sesame stand up to stir fry heat. Also, I like to add Mirin rice wine with the soy. Also I like to sprinkle sesame seeds on the tofu. It makes them look “feastier”. I like the way you showed the steps.

12 formerchef September 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm

I like to use canola because it holds up well to high heat better than just about anything. I think grapeseed oil can take an ever higher temp. I like a little sesame oil, but too much can be overpowering in flavor (for me). There’s quite a bit of sesame already in the sauce I was using too. Thanks!

13 Tallisse September 16, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Hey, This recipe looks really great! Can’t wait to try it soon… But, how did you get the steamed rice into such a nice shape? The presentation of the dish makes it look so tasty!

14 formerchef September 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I used a bowl to form the rice. Spray it with a little oil first, press the rice in and then invert onto the plate.

15 Linda November 5, 2011 at 6:41 am

Hi formerchef,

I made this dish last night and it was a huge success !
I loved your photographs as well as your presentatiion.
I used toasted sesame oil as well as canola.
Thanks for sharing and I will welcome trying other recipes of yours!

16 Indu June 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Dear Former Chef,

Awesome recipe and I tried it tonight for dinner….My husband loved it and it brought happy smiles to my heart…Thank you for sharing your passion with all of us….. God Bless


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