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!
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? 🙂
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. 🙂
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.
- Drain the firm tofu blocks really, really, really, …, really well!
- Cut each block into 12-16 pieces. I usually go with 12. The way I do it is I cut one block into a 2×6 to get 12 pieces total.
- 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.
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