Phew! I can’t believe it’s only been a week since Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you, but I’m still reveling in the memory of all that great food. Since we left all the leftovers (or what remained of them!) back in DC on Monday, Joseph and I have had to fend for ourselves again back in Boston. We’ve been feeling kind of lazy when it comes to cooking and we’ve been seeking out easy, healthier, vegetarian food to switch things up from all the turkey, gravy, and potatoes last week. This ginger garlic tofu dish is quick and easy, making it one of our absolute favorite standby recipes for busy weeknights.
The original recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, but we’ve made some adaptations to it over the years, perfecting it into what I believe is one spectacular meal that just happens to be vegetarian and easy to make. The two secrets to the dish is that it uses the powdered versions of ginger and garlic (not fresh – they don’t work as well in this dish!) and nutritional yeast.
Ok, ok, I know that nutritional yeast may not have the most enticing name. I had never heard of it before and I was a little surprised when Joseph picked up a huge canister of it back when we first made this. I was sure the rest of the canister was going to sit unused in a cabinet until we decided to throw it out one day. Little did I know that this dish would become a regular at our table and not only did we finish off that huge canister of nutritional yeast, we had to go out and get another one. It’s nutty, almost cheesy taste is also great on popcorn, and hey, added bonus, it’s loaded with protein and vitamins (especially B-complex vitamins)!
Now that I’ve convinced you of how great nutritional yeast is (or at least piqued your interest?), let’s get back to what makes this tofu so delicious. The powdered ginger and garlic and the nutritional yeast together coat each piece of tofu, packing it with flavor. The chili powder gives it some kick, and it’s super adjustable – you can use whatever veggie you have on hand and serve it with either rice or noodles. So what are you waiting for? You’ve got to try this!
Adapted from World Vegetarian
You can also substitute one tablespoon of the tamari with fish sauce if you'd like.
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 package (about 14-16 ounces) firm tofu
- 1 green bell pepper, diced (or broccoli, kale, or any other veggie you have on hand)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 lime, juiced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
- red pepper flakes, for topping
- toasted sesame seeds, for topping
- 2 scallions, green parts thinly sliced, for topping
- rice or noodles, cooked (we usually use brown rice or soba noodles)
- Remove excess water from the tofu by wrapping it in paper towels or pressing it between two plates for a few minutes (or do both!). Cut it into 1-inch cubes.
- Put the oil in a large, preferably nonstick, frying pan and set over high heat. When hot, add the tofu. Brown on one side for about 5 minutes and flip using chopsticks, tongs, or whatever works for you and brown for an additional 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper or whatever veggie you're using and stir fry until cooked, but still crisp, about 2 minutes (if using broccoli, you'll want to cook a little longer). Add the garlic and ginger powder and cook, stirring, for another minute.
- Turn down the heat slightly and add the tamari, lime juice, and brown sugar if using. Turn the heat to low, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the top. Stir to mix and turn off the heat. Serve over rice or noodles and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced scallions.