Three things make this dish a beautiful blend of flavors and textures.
The first is the tofu which has to be deep fried until golden and crisp.
The second is the spice base of shallot, garlic and ginger.
The third is the way the bok choy is stir fried.
Press out excess water from the tofu before frying
Tofu contains a lot of water which you need to press out before cutting the block and dropping the tofu pieces into the hot oil. To remove excess water, put the tofu between stacks of paper towels. Place a plate on top and leave for a few minutes to allow the paper towels to soak up the water.
Deep fry the tofu. Not pan fry. Not shallow fry. Deep fry. Every inch of the surface of each piece needs to be in contact with the hot oil to get that lovely golden crispy crust. If your pan is rather small, fry the tofu in batches so that they don’t touch one another.
Be patient when sauteeing the spice base
Although this is a stir fried dish, the spice base requires sauteeing, not stir frying. That means cooking the shallots, garlic and ginger over medium heat, stirring often, to coax out the flavors and aroma. You just can’t hurry up this process. Let the oil and the heat do their job properly and thoroughly.
Cook the bok choy stalks longer than the leaves
When you buy a bunch of bok choy, you get both stalks and leaves. The stalks take a bit longer to soften than the leaves which wilt in the hot wok within seconds.
The trick here is to cut the bok choy into lower and upper halves. The lower halves — the stalks — go into the wok first to give them a headstart. When they are partially cooked and have begun to soften, that’s when you add the leaves.
You need a good sauce
Oyster sauce is what gives the sauce a rich flavor. A little tapioca starch makes the sauce sticky and gives the tofu and bok choy a glossy sheen after cooking.
If you follow these steps, your tofu and bok choy stir fry will be superb. The dish will have tofu that’s rich in color and texture. You won’t get undercooked bok choy stalks nor overcooked bok choy leaves.
Tofu and bok choy stir fry
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 6 tablespoons broth - vegetable broth or chicken broth are recommended
- 1 teaspoon tapioca starch - or corn starch or potato starch
- Place the tofu between stacks of paper towels and weigh down with a plate to remove excess water.
- Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the shallot, peel and chop the garlic, and peel and slice the ginger.
- Rinse the bok choy well then cut into two-inch pieces, separating the stalks from the leaves.
- Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces.
- In a pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- Deep fry the tofu until golden and crisp.
- Scoop out the tofu and dump into a strainer.
- Heat two tablespoons cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Saute the shallot, garlic and ginger with salt and pepper for a minute or so.
- Turn up the heat and add the bok choy stalks. Stir fry for a minute or just until starting to soften.
- Add the bok choy leaves and the fried tofu, and stir fry for about thirty seconds.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the tofu and bok choy.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and clear.
- Taste your tofu and bok choy stir fry. Adjust the seasonings, if needed, and serve immediately.