braised tofu with vegetables and squash in a sauce

Spicy Braised Tofu With Squash & Vegetables

Sweet, sticky, and spicy, this braised tofu recipe is so delicious, and flavorful, it hits the spot when you’re short on time and need a quick weekday dinner. If you love spice, this recipe packs the punch! Serve with a nice steaming bowl of hot rice or thick & chewy udon noodles to round out your meal. Perfect for lunch the next day too!

Today, I wanted to make a meal that used what I had on hand.

I wanted to make a meal that was filling, comforting, and velvety. It also needed to include tofu because I was also in the mood for that.

I didn’t know what the dish was going to look like, but I quickly thought about braising some tofu in a velvety & spicy sauce to eat with some rice or even some noodles.

So I quickly went through my fridge and pantry and pulled ingredients out that I thought would be a perfect pairing for my spicy dish.

Here’s what I put in my Spicy Braised Tofu Recipe:

  • firm tofu
  • buttercup squash
  • hoisin sauce
  • dark soya sauce
  • garlic
  • fresh ginger root
  • red chili flakes
  • bok choy
  • scotch bonnet pepper
  • scallions

What is Braising?

Braising is typically when you pan-sear and then slowly cook in a flavorful cooking liquid shortly after.

Is Braised Tofu Healthy?

Yes! Braised tofu is very healthy. One of the best things about braising is that you are not using a lot of oil. In this recipe, you are only using a small amount of oil to lightly brown your tofu, and the rest of the ingredients is the cooking liquid that allows for the braising to occur!

Make sure to check and compare brand labels for if you are watching your sodium content and sugar intake. You are also free to leave out the dark soy, but I feel that it adds a very unique depth to the dish. An alternative to using the dark soy sauce would be to add tamari instead.

How To Cook Spicy Braised Tofu & Squash

Remove your tofu from the package and drain off the water. Once the tofu is drained, turn your tofu onto its side & cut your tofu straight in the soft middle into two thick slabs. Once you have your tofu cut into two thick slabs, place on some paper towels or a clean tea towel and pat dry, being careful to not break the tofu when patting it dry.

Next, cut your tofu slab vertically in the middle until you have two smaller slab pieces. At this point, you should have four rectangle tofu pieces.

Season your tofu with your spices and set it aside. At this time, heat some oil in a skillet. Once heated, sear your tofu on both sides and remove it from the pan. Next, add in your grated garlic, red chili flakes, and ginger. Stir until fragrant about 30 seconds, and add in your squash. Cook for about a minute and then add your hoisin sauce and water and cover to cook for about 10 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender.

At this point, your sauce should be bubbling and starting to get thick. This is the perfect time to add back your four tofu pieces. Make sure to nestle them into your sauce and squash, sprinkle on some black pepper and spoon some of the sauce over the tofu so they are all covered.

Place a lid on your pan and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add in your bok choy and scotch bonnet pepper and cover again for another 5 minutes to let your bok choy steam and cook. Make sure to nestle down your bok choy as well into the sauce.

After about 15 minutes, your sauce should be thick & bubbling. If your sauce is not thick, remove the lid and let it cook for another 3-5 minutes until thick & serve with some hot rice or noodles.

What Can You Serve With Braised Tofu?

You can serve anything alongside your spicy braised tofu. Typically, this dish is served with rice but you can freely serve this with noodles (udon noodles are my favorite!), or how about going a non-traditional route and serving this with some roasted sweet potatoes?

If you are looking at consuming less starchy carbs, just add more veggies in the last cooking phase and cook to your desired tenderness.

A Few Notes

  • This recipe is SPICY. If you are not a fan of spicy food, have a lower tolerance to spicy foods, or don’t have access to red chili flakes or scotch bonnet peppers, feel free to omit this from the recipe or use less than the recipe indicates. The recipe will still come out with great flavor!

  • I used firm tofu for this recipe as this is what I had on hand but, feel free to use extra-firm tofu if you like. You could also try using soft or silken tofu in this recipe but it may not hold up well to the braising and it may break apart a lot during serving. I enjoyed the firm tofu in this recipe as it was nice and soft when braised and broke apart nicely in the sauce when scooped up.

  • You can use any vegetables you like or have on hand – broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, or cabbage are great choices here.

  • If you notice your squash needs a bit more time, add a few splashes of water to your sauce and cook for a few more minutes, checking in between to make sure your sauce does not cook down too much and dry out before the squash has a chance to cook until tender.

  • You can use any squash you like – butternut and pumpkin are great options too! If squash isn’t in season where you’re living, try using another root vegetable that’s in season or swap out for potatoes instead.

So here’s your recipe on how to make Spicy Braised Tofu With Squash & Vegetables!

braised tofu in a wok with vegetables and squash and green onions

Spicy Braised Tofu Recipe With Squash

Wild & Whelm
Sweet, sticky, and spicy, this braised tofu recipe is so delicious, flavorful, it hits the spot when you're short on time and need a quick weekday dinner. If you love spice, this recipe packs the punch! Serve with a nice steaming bowl of hot rice or thick & chewy udon noodles to round out your meal. Perfect for lunch the next day too!
Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Skillet or Wok

Ingredients
  

  • 1 block (454 grams) firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 grams) vegan chicken seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons (28.3 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1-inch piece (14.3 grams fresh ginger grated finely (or 1 tablespoon chopped, 1/4 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 grams) red chili flakes
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) buttercup squash
  • 1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) of water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) dark mushroom soy sauce (or regular dark soy sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.42 grams) ground black pepper
  • 1/2 piece of a small scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) fresh, bok choy, chopped
  • 2 stalks green onion, sliced
  • a pinch sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Remove your tofu from its packaging and drain all the water and turn your tofu on its side.
  • Cut your tofu straight down the middle until you have two equal tofu slabs. Once you have your tofu slabs, cut each slab once again straight down the middle until you have four rectangle pieces of tofu.
  • Place all tofu pieces on paper towels or a clean tea towel and gently pat off any excess water. Sprinkle your tofu pieces with your vegan chicken seasoning and set them aside.
  • Heat your vegetable oil on medium-high heat in your skillet. Place your tofu pieces in your wok and sear on both sides until lightly browned. Once all pieces are lightly browned, remove from your pan & set aside, Next, add in your grated garlic, ginger, and red chili flakes into the pan and stir until fragrant – usually about 30 seconds.
  • Add in your cubed buttercup squash and stir until the garlic, and red chili flakes are all coated on the squash.
  • Add in your hoisin sauce, water, dark soy, and stir. Once all is incorporated, add on your lid and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the squash starts to get tender once a knife pierces through the squash easily.
  • Once the squash starts to get tender, add back in your tofu pieces and nestle them down into your sauce. Add in your bok choy. Sprinkle in your black pepper and add your scotch bonnet pepper. Cover once again and cook for another 5-10 minutes until your sauce gets thick and rich. If your sauce is not as thick as you'd like, remove the lid and cook uncovered for a few more minutes until thick.
  • Sprinkle in some fresh green onions & top it off with some sesame seeds for garnish & serve this with steaming hot cooked rice or some nice thick & chewy udon noodles!

Notes

  • This recipe is SPICY. If you are not a fan of spicy food, have a lower tolerance to spicy foods, or don’t have access to red chili flakes or scotch bonnet peppers, feel free to omit this from the recipe or use less than the recipe indicates. The recipe will still come out with great flavor!
  • I used firm tofu for this recipe as this is what I had on hand but, feel free to use extra-firm tofu if you like. You could also try using soft or silken tofu in this recipe but it may not hold up well to the braising and it may break apart a lot during serving. I enjoyed the firm tofu in this recipe as it was nice and soft when braised and broke apart nicely in the sauce when scooped up.
  • You can use any vegetables you like or have on hand! Broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, or cabbage are great choices here.
  • If you notice your squash needs a bit more time, add a few splashes of water to your sauce and cook for a few more minutes, checking in between to make sure your sauce does not cook down too much and dry out before the squash has a chance to cook until tender.
  • You can use any squash you like – butternut and pumpkin are great options too! If squash isn’t in season where you’re living, try using another root vegetable that’s in season or swap out for potatoes instead.
Keywords braised tofu, spicy tofu, tofu, tofu with vegetables


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