Hoisin Tofu with Nuts & 3 Peppers

Any kind of tofu will work for this recipe but I prefer to use extra firm tofu because I am working with large pieces of thinly sliced tofu.

Extra firm tofu has a lower water content than other forms of tofu therefore has a much firmer texture and holds up much better in cooking.

Regular tofu has a higher water content a smoother texture but falls apart more easily during cooking.

If you are using regular or soft tofu, place it in a colander (put a plate under to catch dripping) to drain overnight in the fridge or wrap in layers of clean kitchen towels (refrigerate until ready to use). Both of these methods will reduce the water content and give the tofu a firmer texture.

Cut tofu into about ¼ inch thick slices and place single layer in a baking dish.

Pour soy sauce over sliced tofu. (This is where you can be creative and add spices and herbs to your taste. I personally prefer to use soy sauce only because I cook for the freezer also. This becomes a blank canvas that I can later jazz up as the mood strikes me.)

You can brown the tofu right away or marinate for whatever time you have even overnight in the refrigerator. The longer the tofu marinates the more flavorful it becomes.

Drain marinated tofu. Pat dry with paper towel and brown. A non-stick frying pan or a well seasoned cast iron pan works best as tofu tends to stick.

This is what I call tofu cutlets. At this point you can use the cutlets as is, slice into strips, dice, ….. I sometime serve the cutlets as is with a sauce, a green salad and steamed potato. Other times I would slice them into strips and do a stir-fry like the recipe below.

As luck would have it, I came across this Mushroom and Onion Steak Sauce on Charles’ blog, FiveEuroFood.com, (click on the link for the recipe) that I immediately recognized as the perfect sauce for my tofu cutlets. I quickly dashed off an e-mail to Charles asking permission to link his recipe and he graciously said yes. Thank you Charles.

These tofu cutlets freeze well.

Hoisin Tofu with Nuts & 3 Peppers

1 pound extra firm tofu cut into about ¼ inch thick slices and place single layer in a baking dish
2 tablespoons soy sauce, regular, mushroom dark (see NOTE) or gluten free
Pour soy sauce over sliced tofu, turn each slice to evenly coat both sides. Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated. This is the marinated tofu. Drain and pat dry with paper towel before cooking.

2 – 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce or to taste
½ – ¾ cup broth or water
1½ tablespoons cornstatch
Combine the above 3 ingredients in a small bowl. This is the sauce.

1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 medium onion, peeled cut lengthwise into strips
unsalted roasted nuts
½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
3 – 4 tablespoons oil or as needed
cilantro, parsley or sliced scallion for garnish

1. Add 2 tablespoons oil to preheated non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron frying pan. Heat to near smoking. Add tofu. Allow to brown. Turn and brown the other side. Remove to a clean plate. When cool enough to handle, cut into strips.
2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to frying pan, if needed. Add peppers and onions. Stir-fry until green pepper turns bright green. Add tofu and mix well.
3. Give sauce a good stir and add to frying pan. Mix well. When sauce becomes translucent, stir in nuts, adjust taste, remove to a serving platter and garnish. Serve with rice or over pasta.

NOTE: Mushroom dark soy sauce will give the marinated tofu a darker color. It contains molasses and will burn more easily therefore a bit more attention is needed during browning.

Substitute: 1 – 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 1 – 2 teaspoons ketchup for the hoisin sauce

Substitute: 1 – 2 tablespoons oyster sauce for the hoisin sauce
Add: Asian chili sauce or fresh chili peppers to taste

Copyright © by Norma Chang

Robin, The Gardener of Eden, is the host for Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard. Head on over to Thursday’s Kitchen Cupboard to see what others are cooking.

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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60 Responses to Hoisin Tofu with Nuts & 3 Peppers

  1. Charles says:

    Thanks Norma for the shout-out! Your tofu looks amazing – I always have problems making it look like this, although I try really hard 😦 I love the beautiful browned outside and the wonderfully creamy insides. I will follow your instructions next time – it looks like a wonderful dish – so colourful, and I love the addition of the nuts – I bet they bring a lovely crunch to the dish!

    Thanks for sharing this, and for linking my sauce too – I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charles,
      I thank you for sharing your Mushroom and Onion Steak sauce recipe, I got sooooo excited after I read your post.
      If you use extra firm tofu the cutlets will not be creamy inside. To get the creamy inside you need to use a softer texture tofu.

  2. Maureen says:

    Wow Norma, this looks so good and the colors really speak to me. I love your food!

  3. Love it! Tofu and hoisin sauce sounds delicious!

  4. Robin says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I have some Tofu in the refrigerator and am going to make this for dinner tonight.

    My husband loves Tofu and I have never cooked it before. I think this will be the perfect recipe! I’m going to marinate it right now!

  5. I do love tofu Norma, but haven’t cooked it in ages. I love the flavours in this recipe and that the tofu is pan fried and not deep fried. I’ll be bookmarking this for the future. Have a great weekend.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      You got to try the cutlets with Charles of FiveEuroFood “Mushroom and Onion Steak sauce”. I could not believe my luck when I read his blog last night. A great weekend to you too.

  6. This dish looks really, really good, Norma. And I love your tips about dealing with tofu…I say dealing with it because my forays haven’t been so swell. But knowing the right kind to use and how to treat it makes me want to try again! And I can just imagine how good your tofu cutlets would be with Charles’ dipping/steak sauce.

  7. Yup Norma this is a great healthy and easy recipe 🙂 YUMMY ~ I love tofu and it’s so healthy it’s fantastic! I’m in need for some healthy foods lately, I’ve gained so much weight lately hehe 😀 Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi Norma,

    Lovely looking dish and nice to see a recipe which gives tofu such a boost of colour and flavour!!

  9. It’s dinner time, I’m starving, and I haven’t started to cook anything yet. All I want to do is sit down and have a big plate of this tofu. All the colorful peppers make this such a pretty dish.

  10. Hello Norma, Thank you for visiting my blog. I came here and first thing I found is how to marinate tofu. I shell give it a try. Your tofu looks so nice and appetizing.

  11. Claudia says:

    I love this post! I did not know you could marinate and then freeze tofu. The best idea! And when you combine them with gaily-colored peppers – I am in happiness mode.

  12. Catherine says:

    Dear Norma, This just looks delicious!! I know I would love it. Blessings my dear, Catherine xo

  13. Purely.. Kay says:

    Everyone tells me I should try tofu and I think I will definitely try it after reading this post. You’ve done such a wonderful job with this Ms. Norma 🙂

  14. This looks delicious – I love the texture of that tofu!

  15. Your tofu looks absolutely perfect! So flavorful! Love your blog. Thanks for visiting mine! I shall be back often!

  16. Mary says:

    Norma, I so appreciate this post. The recipe is, of course, wonderful, but I am particularly gratetful for the information on working with tofu. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  17. Liz says:

    This looks absolutely fabulous – I rarely cook with tofu but love it and I reckon marinating it in soy with ensure the kids enjoy, thanks for the recipe!

  18. Lrong says:

    The color combination of the dish looks so pretty… and the ingredients, lovely…

  19. girlichef says:

    This is my kind of tofu. It looks so meaty and chewy- my favorite style. And I love the flavor of hoisin, so I think I’m going to have to try this. Thank you, it’s beautiful and mouthwatering.

  20. I love tofu, but have never had much luck getting it to turn out they way yours does. Lovely color and texture. I’ll give this a try. It sounds fabulous!

  21. CheezyK says:

    Oooooh, this sounds really good. I am super, super new to tofu and was glad to read that it freezes well too, will be trying that with my next block (once marinaded of course!) 🙂

  22. Jeanette says:

    Great idea making your own tofu cutlets. Wondering though if you freeze them does the texture change? I know when you freeze regular tofu it becomes spongy, but not sure once it’s been pan fried like you’ve done here.

  23. Suzi says:

    I am in love with this dish. I like to marinate tofu over night to catch all the flavor possible. You have it perfect. Tasty.

  24. cocomino says:

    Very interesting and they must be delicious.
    I recently visited tofu restaraunt. It’s good to eat tofu cusine.

  25. This looks SO delicious! Kids and I love tofu dish and I like that you brown the tofu first. Nice and crispy first that’s the key for deliciousness! Yum!

  26. Asmita says:

    Hi Norma,
    We love tofu at our place. In fact when we visit a Thai or Chinese restaurant we always substitute the chicken for tofu. I will definitely have to try this recipe out. Love the colors and must taste great!

  27. Ina Gawne says:

    Norma – this dish does indeed look mighty tasty! Thank you for the Hoisin substitution – I will definitely give it a try!

  28. Diana says:

    This is one of your wonderful dishes that I really like to try. I have never thought of marinating tofu before. Looks delicious. I will have second serving with this dish.

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