My great aunt Bayla was cooler than I will ever be, and when she was still alive she would take me on food adventures in NYC. She was a bombshell, and the fact she was in her seventies didn’t stop her from being a flirt. She was really, really fun and knew good food. We would sometimes go to Yummy Noodle in Chinatown together in what seemed like a back alley almost 15 years ago. We would order their fried tofu and soy sauce chicken with ginger scallion sauce and a casserole of some sort. It was rustic and fun, and when I think of ginger scallion sauce I miss her.
I made this dish last week because we had nothing but tofu,scallions and garlic in the house, and it combines two of my favorite dishes from Yummy Noodle. Organic tofu is not only inexpensive, but keeps for months in the fridge. Scallions, garlic and ginger keep well too, so if you don’t have anything to make, this dish is grand and will make a satisfying meal served with a stir fried vegetable, and steamed rice or noodles. You can add less soy sauce and more broth if you don’t want a dark sauce like the one pictured here; it’s pretty flexible and very addictive.
I was more of a fan of soft tofu (and still am in Chinese braises) but after I learned this trick I have also begun to love firm tofu. The secret is to slice it lengthwise in fours, cover it with paper towels on both sides, and press it with something heavy (pot or cast iron skillet).
Stir Fried Tofu with Ginger and Scallion Sauce
- 1-16 ounce firm tofu, cut in four sheets, then placed between paper towels on a butcher block and pressed with something heavy to reduce the water in the tofu
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 bunch scallions, elegantly sliced (refer to picture above)
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- a chunk of garlic, minced (about 1 to 2 tablespoons)
- a squirt of sriracha sauce
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce (I used gluten free tamari)
- 2 tablespoons of water or broth
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch mixed in two teaspoons of water
- Cut the tofu lengthwise in four slices. On a cutting board place a sheet or two of paper towels and place the tofu pieces, then cover with another paper towel. Cover with a somewhat heavy pot for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, thinly cut the scallions into elegant slices (example pictured above).
- Mince the garlic and ginger
- In a bowl mix and whisk the sriracha sauce, soy sauce, broth or water, and sugar
- In another bowl combine cornstarch in water
- When the tofu is drained, cut into cubes and toss with about a tablespoon of cornstarch
- Heat a wok to very high and stir fry the tofu in three batches until it is golden
- Place on a dish in a warm place
- Proceed to stir fry the garlic and ginger, then add the scallion and mix, making sure not to burn the garlic (you want to do this step quickly)
- Add the soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Add the corn starch mixture and let it thicken
- Re-add all of the fried tofu and combine
- Serve with rice or noodles and enjoy!