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spicy cumin cauliflower and tofu stir-fry

A plate with stir-fried cauliflower and tofu over rice.

Spicy cumin cauliflower and tofu stir fry is a healthy, vegan recipe inspired by a Northern Chinese dish with bold flavors and easy cooking.

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 block of firm tofu (280 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 large onion (about 1 cup), cut in half, and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Press and season the tofu. If the tofu contains a lot of moisture, press it for a few minutes (up to 20). Slice the tofu into strips or cubes, ¼ to ½ inches in width. Place the tofu in a shallow bowl, and then add the soy sauce and mirin. Coat the tofu and leave it for a few minutes to season.
  2. Bake the tofu. Preheat the oven to 4200 F. (2200 C.). Sprinkle cornstarch over the tofu and toss it so that all sides are covered in cornstarch. You may want to use your hands to ensure that each piece is covered and the cornstarch is absorbed. Place the tofu pieces on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Bake the tofu for 15 minutes, or until it starts to brown, then flip each piece and bake for another 10 minutes or until brown.
  3. Sauté the onions. Heat a large skillet or wok. Add the onions and stir them almost constantly until they become translucent and begin to brown.
  4. Add the aromatics. Mix in the ginger, garlic, and chili slices. Stir them for another 30 seconds so that they mix with the onions.
  5. Stir-fry the cauliflower. Add the cauliflower florets and cook them until they begin to brown. Add ¼ of a cup of water and cook them for a few minutes more until they are brown and tender.
  6. Finish the stir fry. Mix in the cumin, chili flakes, and salt. Then add the coriander and baked tofu.
  7. Serve. Serve the stir fry over rice or noodles. Add toasted sesame seeds on top if desired. 

Notes

  • If you want to toast sesame seeds to finish the dish, do it first in the same pan you use for the stir fry. Heat the skillet first. Then add the seeds and toast them for 1-2 minutes, stirring them constantly. Promptly remove them so that they don't burn. Set them aside for later.
  • If you don't happen to have cornstarch, you can substitute it with arrowroot. We often make this substitution; however, we find that sometimes, arrowroot can leave baked tofu with a slick texture when mixed with wetter ingredients.
  • Watch the timing for this recipe if you are going to accompany it with rice or noodles. You’ll want to start them at some point during the cooking process. 

Keywords: cauliflower, cumin, crispy tofu, stir-fry, Chinese, oil-free, vegan, whole food plant-based

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