5-Spice Marinated Tofu with Snow Peas & Lotus Root

Needed to use up the section of lotus root and snow peas in my fridge before they spoil. Also had firm and soft tofu in the fridge.

Did not want to make soup (click on link and scroll down for recipe), did not want to fuss, just wanted a simple flavorful dish to go with rice.

Opened my kitchen cabinet door and the 5-spice powder was calling my name. So decided to marinate the tofu with 5-spice powder and make a stir-fry.

This is a very basic recipe. As many of you know, I like to post a basic recipe, give ideas for variations and encourage readers to customize the basic recipe to suit individual needs, taste and available ingredients.

DSC04700weblarge copy

5-Spice Marinated Tofu with Lotus Root & Snow Peas Stir-fry (serves 4 – 5)

DSC04696weblarge copyIngredients
1 block (14 – 16 ounces) firm or extra firm tofu, drained and cut into about ¼ inch thick bite-sized pieces (I used firm)
 3 tablespoons soy sauce, regular, dark or gluten free
 1 – 2 teaspoons maple syrup, optional
¼ – 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
¼ – 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (used my freshly harvested ginger)
1 – 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
In a large mixing bowl combine soy, syrup, 5-spice, ginger and sesame oil. Add tofu and gently toss. Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated.

1 section lotus root (½ – ¾ pound), peeled and thinly sliced. Click here to learn about lotus root.
4 – 6 ounces snow peas or sugar snap peas
 4 – 8 ounces red onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
2 – 3 tablespoons oil
½ – ¾ cup vegetable broth (used chicken broth I had in the freezer)
1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons broth or water. Stir well before adding to wok or frying pan.
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (as you can see from photo above I got carried away with the sesame seeds)

1. Drain marinated tofu. Pat dry with clean paper towels.
2. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons oil to preheated non-stick (or well-seasoned cast iron) frying pan. Heat to near smoking. Add tofu pieces in single layer, when browned, turn and brown the other side. Remove browned pieces to a clean plate and set aside. Discard oil if desired.
3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok or frying pan, if needed. Add salt and garlic, stir-fry about 10 seconds or until garlic starts to color.
4. Add lotus root, snow peas and onion. Stir-fry until snow peas becomes bright green. Adding broth 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, if wok or frying pan is dry and to prevent burning.
5. Add browned tofu and broth. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook until vegetables reach desired doneness. Thicken with cornstarch mixture, adjust taste and serve hot over rice, noodles or pasta.

Chinese 5-spice powder is a blend of star anise, Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorns, fennel, Chinese cinnamon and cloves. If unavailable leave out or check out VARIATIONS below.
 If you do not wish to pan fry the tofu, skip step 2. Add drained marinated tofu during step 5.

Substitute: 1 – 3 teaspoons curry powder for the 5-spice powder
Add: Sliced fresh chillies to taste during step 3 or 4
Add: 1 – 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, ¼ – 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce and 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil to cornstarch mixture
Add dried cranberries or other dried fruit of choice
Add toasted cashew, peanuts or other nuts of choice

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

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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45 Responses to 5-Spice Marinated Tofu with Snow Peas & Lotus Root

  1. cocomino says:

    Tofu is my favorite It’s healthy The curry powder is interesting for me

  2. I love TOFU! This looks like just prepared for me 😉

  3. I have everything in my refrigerator and pantry to make your delicious dish right now… well maybe tomorrow since it is going on 11:30pm here.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      Glad you approve of my tofu dish. Bet you can get the freshest lotus root in Hong Kong especially as you get closer to Chinese New Year.
      May I ask a personal question? Do you speak Chinese, both Cantonese and Mandarin? I noticed you always use Mandarin phrases but in HK knowing Cantonese would have an advantage.

      • I can speak Mandarin. when I first moved to Hong Kong I had to make a decision between learning either Cantonese and Putongua and I chose Putongua as my boys have to learn this in school and there are too many dialects of Cantonese. I know just enough Cantonese to get around but sometimes even those living in the New Territories cannot understand those on the HK island. I would love to learn both, maybe one day. Take Care, BAM

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Bam,
        You are quite an accomplished linguist. So many talents, is there anything you cannot do?

      • Norma, I think you are quite amusing and it is you that we should all look up to see how far you have come and how much hidden potential you have in store for us. It is so funny we are discussing this as my eldest teenager and I were just sitting together when his girlfriend called. He was speaking almost fluently in Cantonese, I was shocked. Peer pressure and very cute little Chinese girlfriends is all it takes for teenage boys to learn a new language. LOL

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Bam,
        Teenagers suprise us in many ways. It is fun to sit back and observe them. Of course there are occassions when you have to pretend to you did not see or hear anything and also bite your tongue.

      • LOL! Have a super day Norma!

  4. Lotus root! I really want to give it a try after seeing it in your posts lately!

  5. You have used tofu so deliciously here, it looks flavoured to perfection 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. wok with ray says:

    I love tofu dishes but never tried using five spice which I should. Thank you, Norma and have a good weekend. Stay warm! 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Ray,
      If you like 5-spice powder you will like it with tofu. We are having “heat wave”, 40+F, for the past few days and will continue for another few days but the grounds are still covered with snow. A good weekend to you too.

  7. hotlyspiced says:

    I’m glad you have been able to use your own freshly harvested ginger! What a delicious and tasty meal – I love any dish with 5-spice powder xx

  8. Sophie33 says:

    A georgous & stunning dish! I also made a wok recipe on my blog & I know that you will love that too! 🙂 Yummm!

  9. That looks awesome Norma – healthy and delicious. And, thanks for the reminder to start using my 5-spice powder more! Have a good weekend 🙂

  10. Eha says:

    Firm tofu is never missing from my fridge and stirfries are almost a daily happening! And yet iIhave never used 5-spice [oh, I DO have it 🙂 !] or maple syrup. You do have the best tips, Norma! Thanks!!!

  11. I love the addition of maple syrup. I’m trying to imagine that taste in my mind. I’ll have to make it to find out if I’m right. Have a great weekend, Norma!

  12. This looks delicious! Yum! And so healthy, too!

  13. Eva Taylor says:

    I really must get some firm tofu, I really love the stuff. And the five spice blend is one of my favourites. I also live the texture of the fried tofu, so I think I would splurg for it. It’s a nice fresh meal, particularly when the temperatures are warming this week.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      Yep, the temperature warmed up this week but the grounds are still snow covered. You can use extra firm tofu for the dish also, personally I prefer the texture of the firm over the extra firm.

  14. ChgoJohn says:

    This sounds so very good, Norma, and so easy to prepare. Best of all is how bright and fresh everything looks on the dinner plate. Very enticing! I bet you had just a touch of pride as you used your home-grown ginger — and well you should! That’s quite an accomplishment. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      You guessed correctly, it felt great using my home-grown ginger. Since the holidays, I am into easy-to-prepare, no-fuss meals (a lazy way to start the new year, not a good thing).

  15. mac says:

    That looks good, I love tofu and lotus root anyway you cook them.

  16. Hi Norma, that is such a lovely and healthy dish, you did make me hungry for one! 🙂 Norma, have you made your own tofu? Is it hard to make? I would like to give it a try some day…

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Marina,
      Making your own tofu is not hard but it is time consuming and one has to be very attentive at certain stages. Years ago I did give it a go, that was before tofu became mainstream. With tofu so readily available now and the quality is good I personnly feel it is not worth the effort.

  17. Karen says:

    Norma, your dish looks beautiful and I sure it was as delicious as it is pretty.

  18. Kristy says:

    Tofu with five spice sounds really good to me! This is such a pretty dish. 🙂

  19. I LOVE tofus – and always welcome new recipes where I can incorporate that! 🙂 Happy Belated New Year Norma.

  20. Saskia (1=2) says:

    The lotus root is so pretty. I love that you’ve encouraged customisation, but this combo looks pretty perfect to me!

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