Pan fried tofu tossed in Five Spice flavored Baby Spinach
M loves his vegetables, the less I cook them the better he likes it. I often tease him to just head to a farm, harvest them, wash and chew on it right away…..that’s right, washing them before he eats is important LOL!
So it is natural that whenever he offers to cook for us, there is a ton of veggies on the menu. He takes his time to prep them, wash, chop in the exact right shape needed for the recipe and comes up with some amazing, out of the box spice mix or sauce bases. The children love it…..it used to stump me initially that they loved his impromptu concoctions !! Borderline jealousy was probably another feeling that crept in ……I mean I slog in the kitchen trying to make some heirloom recipes and traditional foods but he gets the best cook award? Sigh…….eventually I came to terms with it….but now I am happy…..they have found a good balance between our native cuisine and our interpretation of other cuisines. A big part in making that happen goes to M…..ssshhh…..don’t tell him that I have confessed / declared/ accepted this on the World Wide Web 🙈!
Having said that, he has inspired to push my taste envelope as well. I was a picky eater growing up and if not for M, I would have remained one. That gave me the confidence to explore varied cuisines on my own and one dish at a time, I felt captivated by the food from around the world. Trying new spices and sauces is exciting now, no longer intimidating. M introduced the Chinese Five Spice blend to me. I loved it! This stir fry’s hero ingredient is that and it beautifully rounds up the flavor.
Chinese Five Spice powder usually contains : Star Anise, Fennel Seeds, Szechuan Peppercorns, Whole cloves and Cinnamon sticks. A readymade blend is easily available in most supermarkets. A pantry staple that packs a ton of flavor.
|Prep Time : 10 minutes||Cook time : 15 minutes|
|Spice Level : 🌶🌶🌶||Ease level : 😃|
|Serves : 4||Entrée / Side|
For the Stir Fry :
- Baby Spinach : one 170 gram / 6 oz bag – add more if you like
- Sweet onion – 1 small – chopped into small cubes
- Scallions – 2 – chopped – separate green and white
- White sesame seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Ginger – grated – 1 teaspoon
- Garlic – crushed – 1 teaspoon
- Chinese 5 spice powder – 1 teaspoon or to taste
- Soy sauce – 1 teaspoon
- Sambal Oelek – 1 teaspoon or taste
- Salt to taste
- Oil – to pan fry tofu and for stir fry
- Sugar – optional – 1 teaspoon
- Peanuts for garnish – optional
For the Tofu:
- Firm tofu – drained – cubed – 14 oz pack
- Corn flour – 2 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Crushed Black Pepper to taste
- Sambal oelek – 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
How to :
- Prep the tofu and pan fry them first. Cooks in 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the cubed tofu to a bowl, ans coat it with all the ingredients under the For Tofu list.
Add a tablespoon oil to a shallow skillet or griddle and shallow fry the tofu cubes until golden on both sides. Remove and set aside.
- For the stir fry, heat a wok or wide bottom skillet on medium high heat.
- Once oil is hot, add sesame seeds, let toast for 20 seconds and then add the chopped onions and the whites of the scallions. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Then add some salt, ginger and garlic, sambal oelek and saute for a minute or until the ginger garlic smell cooked.
- Now throw in the spinach and saute them until they wilt, making sure not to over cook them, 2 minutes tops.
- Add the soy sauce and chinese 5 spice powder and the fried tofu and stir until everything is well combined.
- Turn off heat and sprinkle sugar if you desire.
- Transfer to a serveware and garnish with the scallion greens and peanuts.
- Serve with rice or noodle or eat it as is…tastes best when eaten from a bowl !
We ate it with some pressure cooked white rice and a semi homemade Pan Fried Soya Chunks in store bought Orange sauce. The second side was a bribe in case the kids wouldn’t eat the ‘spinach’, but to my utter surprise (they continue to surprise me 😅) they loved it more than the orange sauce soya chunks ! Yay ! I will post the recipe for the soya chunks soon. Please bear with me.
This is a very versatile recipe, add any veggies you like, edit the spice levels to suit your need and use extra firm tofu if you like. Make it your own and enjoy ! Thank you for stopping by !