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Simple Braised Tofu

Chinese braised tofu is a really easy dish using common Chinese pantry ingredients, yet packed with big flavors. Make a vegan version with mushroom sauce.

This simple braised tofu is one of my trusted recipes that I make again and again. I always have packets of firm tofu in my fridge, along with some garlic, chilies, and scallions. Plus, the braising sauce is made from super common Chinese pantry items that I can whip up in minutes. If you don’t want to fry the tofu yourself, you can always grab some packages of deep-fried tofu from you Asian market. In which case, this already quick meal will become lightning fast!

Ingredients to prepare Chinese simple braised tofu.

Ingredients to prepare Chinese simple braised tofu.

What you need to prepare Chinese simple braised tofu

You will only need a handful of ingredients for this dish. I’ll divide them into two parts, fresh ingredients, and pantry ingredients for the braising sauce.

The fresh ingredients

  • 2 blocks of firm tofu, cut each block into 12-16 pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 scallions, cut into 1-inch sections
  • 2-4 red chilies, seeded and thinly sliced

The braising sauce

If your kitchen has a decent stock of common Chinese pantry ingredients, you can make this sauce in 1-2 minutes! All you need to do is stir everything together.

And you can use the exact same sauce to cook other dishes too. Simply switch up the tofu with thinly sliced chicken, beef, or pork. Easy right? 1 simple braising sauce = a variety of meals! Cool, right? :)

Chinese simple braised tofu.

Chinese simple braised tofu.

Do I really need to fry the tofu?

I understand that everyone is always strapped for time, and it is super tempting to skip the frying part but believe me, your effort will be rewarded. When you fry tofu, they will develop this golden brown skin that will absorb the sauce so much better than their plain version. But… if you really want to skip, it is not the end of the world! So for sure, if you don’t have the time, I’d say just skip it. But really, try the fried version at least once, so you know what you are missing. :)

Chinese simple braised tofu.

Chinese simple braised tofu.

What's the best way to fry tofu?

If I have managed to convince you to fry your tofu, here’s the easiest way to do about it.

  1. Drain the firm tofu blocks really, really, really, …, really well!
  2. Cut each block into 12-16 pieces. I usually go with 12. The way I do it is I cut one block into a 2x6 to get 12 pieces total.
  3. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan or a well seasoned cast-iron pan (as long as it’s really well seasoned!) over medium heat. Fry tofu pieces until golden brown. Set aside.

Frying tofu is easy, but if you really don’t want to deal with this, I highly suggest trying to find already fried tofu packets when you next visit your Asian markets. They are usually right alongside the regular tofu. They do cost more, but they will save you time.

Simple Braised Tofu

Simple Braised Tofu

Originally published on July 20, 2015. Updated on October 28, 2019 with new photos.

Simple Braised Tofu


5.0 from 9 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan (or a well-seasoned cast-iron pan) and fry the tofu pieces until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Sauté garlic and chilies until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add the braising sauce. Mix well and bring to a boil.
  3. Return the tofu to the pan, reduce heat, and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the scallions, mix well, and cook for another minute. Turn off heat, transfer to a serving plate and serve with steamed white rice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Adina Adina says:

    I love tofu too. I will try this, I normally have all the required ingredients at home. :)

  • Cate Cate says:

    Hello, I just found your blog when looking for jackfruit recipes and wanted to say how beautifully laid out and clear it is. I also love that you have a print button for each of them which makes life so much easier. I'm really looking forward to making the jackfruit curry now!

  • Selene Selene says:

    This recipe is amazing. I really struggle to find tasty ways to cook tofu, but this with your bok choi and oyster sauce recipe have transformed our tofu meals! They are a big hit with the whole family! Thank you.

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Selene. I am so happy to hear that :)

  • Cat Cat says:

    Amazing! By far the best tofu I have ever had! Made this for my hubby's birthday, he is Indonesian, with coconut rice and it was a big hit! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Cat :) I am so happy you and your happy both love the dish.

  • Lynette Lynette says:

    I tried this recipe and really enjoyed it! So very tasty with rice. Only changes I made were to add mushrooms, leave out scallions and used molasses sugar instead of regular white sugar. I also forgot to add white pepper. 😔 But it still turned out great! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Lynette, adding mushroom is a nice idea. I also love pairing tofu and mushroom when I have both at hand :)

  • Amber Amber says:

    I made this and it was awesome!! I added a little sriracha to the sauce ingredients. I also added kale right before I threw in the green onions. I served it over soba noodles with avocado garnish. Great vegetarian meal and highly satisfying!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Adding sriracha is never a bad idea it seems :) I love what you did with adding kale, I might try doing that myself.

  • Beth Pierce Beth Pierce says:

    I haven't cooked tofu in quite some time! You have me inspired to make this; it looks delicious!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    This looks freaking amazing! I'm always on the lookout for tofu recipes and yours looks great. I'll be making this soon! :)

    • Anita Anita says:

      Haha, I hope you will find that it tastes freaking amazing too, Jamie. ;)

  • Alexandra Alexandra says:

    Well this is the best looking tofu dish I have ever seen! Just stunning flavours!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Awww, you are too kind, Alexandra. I hope you will give this a try one day. :)

  • suzy suzy says:

    My favorite way to prepare tofu!

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    This recipe for braised tofu sure looks good! Perfect for meatless Mondays for dinner.

    • Anita Anita says:

      This is indeed perfect for meatless Monday, and you can add some mushrooms too to make it even more filling, Sharon.

  • Adrianne Adrianne says:

    Wow how good does this tofu look!!! I love the combination of ingredients as well as the flavours sound perfect, super tasty. Can't wait to give this a go, cheers!

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