Crispy pan-fried tofu is tossed in a sweet chili-lime sauce with fresh basil to make this flavorful Thai basil tofu stir-fry.
A few months ago I hit my twenty year meatless milestone. That feels pretty weird, because I honestly don’t feel old enough to have reached any twenty year milestone, or at least any twenty year milestone of any adult decision, which I consider cutting out meat to be.
Anyhow, this last month has been a weird one for me and my long and continuing vegetarian history, as I haven’t had much of an appetite. This is rare for me. Very, very rare. I love to eat. Unfortunately, since around Christmas I’ve spent the majority of my days battling not one, but two nasty, nasty winter colds. I’m just getting over the latter, which was by far the worst. It helps that I’m working from home now, but the interesting thing about having this unstructured sort of day at home is that during my weekdays while fighting illness it would get to be around three in the afternoon and I’d suddenly realize I’d forgotten to eat all day. That was when I became aware that I was pretty darn sick. Lack of appetite is not an affliction I’m familiar with.
I also realized I was forgetting to write up my blog posts, which is also weird, because almost as much as I like to eat my food, I like to talk about it. I’m usually way ahead on drafts, but lately, having no appetite, I found myself at a bit of a loss for words.
Fortunately, sometime around midday Sunday I strolled over to the kitchen to grab a couple of crackers and found myself going back for more, followed by some peanut butter, then strawberries, then the realization that I was back in business.
For my comeback, I’m giving you guys a delicious recipe that I don’t have a whole heck of a lot to say about. It’s great and all, it just hasn’t really crossed my mind since I made and photographed it a couple of weeks ago. It’s sweet, spicy, and it gives basil a totally new place in your life that you will at once realize you’ve been longing for for years. This goes perfectly with my Thai coconut rice, which you can even see in the background in some of my photos. Enjoy.
Thai Basil Tofu Stir Fry
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp. chili paste, more if you like extra spicy
- 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch, optional, see note
- 1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 large broccoli crown, chopped
- 2 cups sliced fresh basil
Whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste and cornstarch, if using. Set aside.
Cut tofu into bite sized cubes or triangles.
Heat oils in large skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and cook on each side until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and transfer to plate.
Add garlic and ginger to skillet and sauté for about 1 minute.
Raise heat to medium-high. Add broccoli and peppers and stir fry until tender-crisp, about 3-5 minutes.
Add lime juice mixture and mix to coat. Continue to stir fry for about a minute, or until sauce thickens up and coats veggies.
Add tofu and basil and mix completely.
Serve with rice.
I updated this recipe recently. The original version didn't include cornstarch, but when I remade the dish for the photos I felt like the sauce needed a little thickener. If you've been making this for a while without the cornstarch and enjoyed it, go ahead and continue to make it that way. If this dish is new to you, I recommend using the cornstarch.br]For more guidance on how to get the perfect tofu texture, check out [this crispy tofu tutorial.