This savory Tofu and Pepper Stir Fry is quick and easy to make. It is perfect for a weeknight meal!
I have to admit, I have my go-to meals, and this Tofu and Pepper Stir Fry for Chinese New Year is not one of them. Frankly, I am not sure why it isn’t. After all, it has all the components that I love: a sweet and spicy sauce, vegetables that I love, fried tofu, ginger, garlic, and brown rice noodles or rice. Why haven’t I been making this more often?
Good question. After all, this is pretty simple to make, and full of all the flavors that I love. Now that I have reintroduced myself – hello, stir fry, long lost friend – I will be making you again and again… If you want a vegan gluten free appetizer, my Tofutti Cream Cheese Puffs will hit the spot.
Here I have included a gluten free low sodium tamari, because I like to control the amount of salt in my dishes, brown rice vinegar (always in my pantry, but you could use lime juice), and brown rice syrup (another staple in my kitchen, but you could use agave syrup, sugar, or brown sugar – adjust the amounts according to sweetness).
Include your favorite vegetables and you are all set. Just remember to cook hard vegetables first, since they will take longer to cook. Next, add soft ones and the sauce. If you are using a wok, cooking goes a lot faster than a frying pan, so have all the vegetables cut ahead of time. Also, if you are using a wok you will need less oil than I listed here.
I prefer to cook my tofu first because I like it crispy on the outside. Some recipes call for adding it later. It is all a personal preference. Also, some recipes call for pressing your tofu first to get all the water out. I am a little lazy in this department, instead opting to cook the @#%**# out of it. With my method, you can walk away for periods of time, and it still comes out great.
Don’t be afraid to play!
Since Chinese New Year is around the corner, why not make a stir fry for the occasion?
Chinese food symbolism:
- tofu, fried (豆腐干; dòufǔgān)(炸豆腐; zhá dòufǔ) – gold, hence wealth
- shitake, black mushroom (I used crimini) – longevity, seizing opportunities
- onion (洋葱; yángcōng) – cleverness
- vegetable, green (绿叶菜; lǜyècài) – close family ties
- mixed vegetable (什锦蔬菜; shíjǐn shūcài) – family harmony
- rice (米饭; mǐfàn) – fertility, luck, wealth, rice symbolizes a link between Heaven (Gods) and Earth (Men)
- “longevity noodles” (面条; miàntiáo) – uncut, long life
Tofu and Pepper Stir Fry
- 4 tablespoons low sodium gluten free tamari
- 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 14 oz. firm tofu
- 5 cups julienned red, green, and yellow peppers
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1/4 of a serrano pepper, finely diced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms, crimini or shitake
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- Mix together tamari, brown rice syrup, and brown rice vinegar. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in pan or wok on high heat, add onions and cook until translucent.
- Add cubed tofu and cook until slightly browned.
- Add carrots, and red, yellow and green peppers, and chopped serrano. Cook until almost tender.
- Add minced garlic and ginger and cook about a minute.
- Add mushrooms and sauce and cook a few more minutes.
- Serve over rice or brown rice noodles.
Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? If so, what foods do you eat?
*For more recipes for Chinese New Year, check out my Pinterest board.
- author unknown, “Food Symbolism during Chinese New Year Celebrations” Nations Online 2/10/2013 http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/food_symbolism.htm
- Wu, Annie “Chinese Food Types,” China Highlights 2/13/2015 http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-food/chinese-food-type.htm
- Valena, Jim “Food Symbolism during Chinese New Year Celebrations” 1/18/2012 http://jimmyvalena.com/2012/01/18/food-symbolism-during-chinese-new-year-celebrations/