This umami-rich Ginger and Spring Onion Tofu is an easy restaurant-style vegan dish you can make at home with only a handful of ingredients.
This is such a great dish for all of you tofu lovers, and even those of you who aren’t quite convinced.
I firmly believe that a lot of people with tofu aversions simply have not had a good tofu recipe. When I first started cooking with tofu, I can admit that I hated it and could not understand the appeal.
But it’s become one of my favourite ingredients and all it took was learning how to use it. I now eat tofu 3 times a week (great protein source!) and this Ginger and Spring Onion Tofu is always one of those.
Ginger and Spring Onion Tofu
It’s inspired by Jiang Cong Zhu Rou (a meat based ginger and spring onion dish) as well as the ginger and spring onion tofu I had at my local Chinese restaurant.
This dish essentially consists of pan fried tofu tossed in an umami rich, savoury, gingery sauce. With heaps of spring onions, or scallions for US readers. It’s honestly the type of dish that makes you want to go back for seconds.
It’s heavy on the ginger and just as heavy on the spring onions. But there are other flavours at play too. The sauce consists of key ingredients used in a lot of Chinese cooking, such as rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, as well as mushroom sauce (a vegetarian oyster sauce substitute).
It’s part of my ‘30 Minute Recipes’ series!
This entire series will be full of recipes that can all be made in UNDER 30 MINUTES. They’re perfect for busy days, or for those evenings when you just want something quick.
In fact, they’re all recipes that I make for my own lunches and dinners. Though I’m always cooking for the blog, those recipes don’t make up my lunches and dinners.
You can find the rest of the recipes here.
The KEY to getting this recipe right
The flavours must be balanced. By this I mean that the saltiness and savouriness is balanced with acidity and a faint hint of sweetness.
If you’ve ever had a moment when you’ve taste a dish and felt like something was missing. But you couldn’t quite put your finger on what it was. More than likely it’s either that the dish wasn’t balanced or it was missing a little bit of seasoning.
I first discovered this dish at my local Chinese restaurant
We’re quite fortunate over here in London to have access to wonderful food from an abundance of cuisines. Within 45 minutes I can find incredible dishes from Cantonese, Sichuan, and Hunan cuisines (and more!).
At one of my local Chinese restaurants (and one that I truly love), I was able to try this Ginger and Spring Onion Tofu for the first time. And it has been a personal firm favourite ever since and it’s also generally a very popular dish at the restaurant.
Why I make this Ginger and Spring Onion Tofu every week
It’s such an easy dish and it honestly just tastes great. There’s simplicity to this recipe, but that does not mean it lacks in flavour at all.
It really is a 30 minute recipe and that fits in with my schedule perfectly. I also always have these ingredients on hand so it makes for a great weeknight dish without having to rush off to any supermarkets last minute.
I do keep it simple and serve this tofu with either jasmine rice or rice noodles tossed in a little bit of soy sauce and sesame oil. Simple but hits the spot.
If you have a traditional wok – use it for this recipe!
Ever since I started using a carbon steel wok, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in the flavour of a lot of my Chinese and Chinese-style dishes. They taste really similar to the dishes I would normally order from a restaurant.
Upon researching this, I found that it is indeed a flavour imparted from the wok known as ‘wok hei’. And it is a smoky, grilled, and almost caramelised note.
In order to achieve this, the wok must be seasoned (which you have to do yourself) and the food must be cooked on a high heat. Home cookers don’t reach the same temperatures as restaurant and commercial appliances, so we will never achieve the full potential of wok hei.
But you do still get a great flavour from cooking in a wok on a home cooker.
How to choose the right type of tofu
The type of tofu you use here is largely down to preference. Just make sure you’re not using silken tofu/soft tofu. That is far too soft and will just crumble apart.
We want to use either a medium firm tofu, firm tofu, or extra firm tofu here. You can find a huge variety of tofu at your local East Asian supermarket in the refrigerator section.
I don’t press out my tofu to remove excess water, I just briefly pat it dry with a paper towel. I find retaining some moisture helps the starch to stick and it keeps the inside of the tofu soft even after cooking it.
What you’ll need
The full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost
- Tofu – use either medium-firm, firm or extra-firm
- Rice flour or corn flour (corn starch for US readers)
- Spring onions/scallions
- Green pepper
- Mangetout or any other green of choice
- Rice vinegar
- Mushroom sauce or any other vegetarian oyster sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Vegetable stock – I’ve used mushroom stock here
- Toasted sesame oil
How to make this Ginger and Spring Onion Tofu
1+2) Start by slicing some ginger and then smashing it with the side of a knife. This helps to open up the slices and provide some extra surface area for flavour
3+4) You’ll also need to slice up some garlic and spring onions/scallions. Keep some of the greens aside for garnishing at the end. The full recipe and measurements are at the end of the blogpost!
5) The key is to keep the spring onions chunky
6) Also slice up some tofu into whatever sized cubes you like
7) Toss the tofu in either rice flour or cornflour (corn starch for US readers) until they’re all evenly coated, just like 8)
9) Pan fry the tofu in 2-3tbsp of oil until they’re golden all over. Then set aside
10) Start sautéing the ginger until they begin to caramelise. They will start turning brown and will be incredibly fragrant
11+12) Add in the garlic and chunky spring onions/scallions and let them cook till they’re lightly charred in a few areas
13+14) Add in all the tofu as well as some greens of choice. I like to use green peppers and mangetout here
15) Cook everything together for around a minute
16) Then add in all the sauces (rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, mushroom sauce, and vegetable/mushroom stock)
17) Give that all a good mix until lightly sauce and the vegetables have softened slightly but still retain some crunch
18) Finish with some finely sliced spring onion greens (the bits we left aside earlier) and toasted sesame oil
If you enjoyed this recipe
Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.
Until then, happy cooking!
- 400g tofu, medium-firm, firm, or extra-firm work best
- 100g of rice flour, or cornflour (corn starch for US readers)
- 3" piece of ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 4 spring onions/scallions
- 1 green pepper
- Mangetout, or any other greens of choice
- 1tbsp rice vinegar
- 2tbsp mushroom sauce, or any other vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1/2tbsp dark soy sauce
- 150ml vegetable stock
- 2tsp toasted sesame oil
- Start by slicing the ginger and then smashing it with the side of a knife. This helps to open up the slices and provide some extra surface area for flavour
- You'll also need to slice up some garlic and spring onions/scallions. The key is to keep the spring onion pieces chunky, don't chop them finely. Also keep a few of the spring onion greens aside for garnishing at the end
- Briefly pat the tofu dry with a paper towel, there's no need to press the tofu out here. Then cut the tofu into equal sized cubes
- Toss the tofu in either rice flour or cornflour (corn starch for US readers) until evenly coated
- Pan fry the tofu in 2-3tbsp of any neutral oil (sunflower, rapeseed, or vegetable) until golden and crispy, then set aside
- In a wok or large frying pan, add 2tbsp of oil followed by the ginger. Allow the ginger to caramelise and brown on the edges
- Then add in the garlic and spring onions and continue to cook on a high heat for around a minute, tossing continuously
- Add the tofu back in followed by whichever greens you're using (I've used green pepper and mangetout here) and continue to cook everything for a further minute
- Then add in the rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, mushroom sauce/vegetarian oyster sauce, and vegetable/mushroom stock
- Allow to cook for a further minute or so until the sauce has reduced slightly
- Finish with finely sliced spring onion greens and toasted sesame oil
Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 358Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 2mgSodium 506mgCarbohydrates 46gFiber 8gSugar 6gProtein 21g
This is an automated calculation and hence may not be entirely accurate.