Quick dinner snafu? Shake things up with breaded tofu!

Photo by Anika Lanser

Like most college students, stir-fry is my best friend. It’s easy to make, hard to mess up and easy to spice up when it’s the third time you’ve made it this week. There are so many easy ways to vary the stir fry you normally make: use different vegetables, substitute quinoa instead of rice, or in my case, add tofu that’s cooked a little bit differently than usual.

I recently made a stir-fry with spicy, breaded tofu. I got the idea after I made tofu burritos the night before. The recipe for the “Loaded Crispy Tofu Tacos” came from a blog called The Woks of Life. Their recipe for crispy tofu has just a bit of spice and a ton of flavor, so I was eager to reuse my tofu leftovers to make a stir fry bowl.

To make the tofu for the stir fry, start by cubing extra-firm tofu. I would recommend somewhere between half an inch and three-quarters of an inch in terms of dimension.

In one bowl mix Sriracha and honey. This will serve as the base layer to help the dry ingredients stick to the tofu. After rolling the tofu cubes around in the Siracha-honey mixture until they are fully coated, it’s time to add the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, combine cornmeal, chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Be sure to fully cover the tofu in the dry mixture. I recommend making twice as much of the dry mixture as of the base layer. Somehow it takes more of the dry mixture to coat the tofu. While coating the tofu, if the dry mixture becomes too stuck together to stick to the tofu, it helps to add more cornmeal to dry it out again.

After the tofu is coated, it’s time to fry it. Using a medium size sauce pan, pour enough vegetable oil to coat the entire bottom of the pan. It does not need to be a thick layer, but having oil across the whole pan makes it’s easier to fry the tofu. Make sure to turn the tofu so that all the sides can get crispy. Once the tofu is ready, set it aside to use later or keep it covered on a very low heat so that it remains warm. Don’t forget if you made too much, you can always put it in the fridge and reheat it later for another recipe!

To make the stir fry, I usually use rice as a base. To make this process extra easy, I sometimes use the Minute White Rice. It takes only five minutes to microwave, making it a great choice if you are simply dying to eat dinner.

I have also used Seeds of Change Quinoa packs instead of white rice when I feel like I need to be healthier, although I honestly don’t know if quinoa is healthier than white rice.

While the quinoa or white rice is in the microwave, sauté some vegetables! This particular time I used spinach, onion, peppers, broccoli and tomato. I generally use olive oil when I saute veggies and also like to season with some salt and pepper.

Add the onions first since they take the longest to cook, followed by the broccoli, peppers and finally the spinach and tomato. Once the spinach starts to shrivel up, the vegetables can be added to the rice or quinoa.

To add even more variety to my stir fry, I whipped up a quick peanut sauce. Simply add soy sauce and a little bit of water to peanut butter and stir until smooth. To make a peanut sauce that’s a tad more adventurous (and also more effort), add some lime juice and red pepper flakes. Peanut sauce is another thing that can be made in advance and then stored for the next time you make an emergency stir fry dinner.

Personally, I like to layer my stir fry bowl and usually start by putting the rice at the bottom. After the layer of grains, I typically add the vegetables and then top with the crispy tofu. Finally, drizzle a little bit of peanut sauce on top to add a kick and create an insta-worthy stir fry bowl!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Vegetable oil

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