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tofu and asparagus stir fry in a bowl

Tofu and Asparagus Stir Fry

This is an easy and delicious stir fry recipe with tofu, asparagus, and lots of sauce. The tofu can be made crispy and pleasantly chewy in three different ways. The asparagus is perfectly cooked to retain its flavor and tender-crisp texture. The sauce is plenty with garlicky flavor and a subtle sweetness to it.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese, Filipino
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 163kcal
Author: Nora
Cost: $6-$8

Equipment

  • A wok or skillet or sauté pan
  • Air Fryer or Oven (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 block "firm" or "extra-firm" tofu (14 or 16 ounces)
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 stalks scallions
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated or minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Fry the tofu - 3 ways: Drain the tofu and cut it up into bite-size pieces. Place them on paper towels and pat them dry to drain more water out - the crispier it'll get when fried or baked.
    Air Fryer – – Grease your air fryer basket with cooking spray and place the tofu pieces in a single layer making sure not to overcrowd them. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to do it in separate batches. Cook at 400◦F for 10-12 minutes until browned and crispy. Shake the pan halfway through to ensure even cooking.
    Oven – Generously grease your baking sheet and spread out the tofu pieces. Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes total until crisp and nicely browned. Flip them halfway through to crisp the other side.
    Wok or Pan – Set your wok or pan to medium-high heat and add oil to cover the bottom. When the oil is hot and ready, add the tofu in a single layer. Do not overcrowd so they don't steam. Let them brown and crisp for about 2 minutes before flipping, or they will stick to the pan. Brown the other side for the same amount of time.
  • Prepare the rest of the ingredients: Wash the asparagus, line them up on a cutting board, and slice off the woody ends where the green starts to fade into white. Cut them diagonally into 2-inch sections. Cut the scallions the same way. Mince the garlic and grate (or mince!) the ginger.
  • Make the sauce: In a small bowl or cup, stir the cornstarch, Chili Garlic Sauce, sugar, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and water.
  • Stir-fry: Set your wok or pan to medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for about 30 seconds. Careful not to brown them, or they'll be burnt when the whole thing is done.  Add the scallions and the asparagus, cook for 2 minutes (1 minute for thin asparagus). Keep them moving in the pan, so they don't burn.  Add the tofu and mix them up. When you add the sauce, it will immediately bring the temperature down so turn up the heat a notch. Pour the sauce over and keep stirring for about a minute until bubbling and thickened. Add the sesame oil and some ground pepper. Give it a taste and adjust accordingly. Turn off the heat.
  • Serve: It's best served with rice or noodles and enjoyed while it's hot!

Video

Notes

  • Tofu: For this recipe, you will need a "firm" or "extra-firm" block of tofu sold in plastic tubs. 
  • Soy sauce: Use an all-purpose soy sauce or one that is labeled as "light soy sauce," but not dark soy sauce.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce: It is made from ground red chilies with a thick chunky consistency used as a condiment or a cooking ingredient in Asian cuisine.  You can also use Sambal Oelek or Sriracha in place of it.  If you don't like the heat, skip it.
  • Shaoxing Wine: An amber-colored Chinese rice wine essential in Chinese and Chinese-influenced Filipino cooking. There's usually a minimal amount added to the dish but it does make a difference.  It adds depth, enhancing the flavors in the dish. To substitute in this recipe, you can use any other Chinese cooking wine, Mirin, dry sherry, or Japanese rice wine (sake).
  • Oil: Use a neutral-tasting oil that can withstand high heat, like canola or vegetable oil.  
  • Sesame oil: Use the dark-colored variety made from toasted sesame seeds — not to be confused with the neutral-flavored light sesame oil made from raw sesame seeds. The dark variety has a strong flavor and aroma used for seasoning (not as regular oil) and is added in the last minutes of cooking. It can be overpowering in excess; a little goes a long way.
  • Vegetable substitutes: You can forget the name of this dish and try other vegetables like green beans, Chinese broccoli, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, or bok choy.
TIP:
When making stir-fries, prepare everything ahead. That includes not just the ingredients or the carbs that will go with it, like rice or noodles, but your appetite as well. Stir-fries are best enjoyed fresh off the pan.
Nutrition Facts
Tofu and Asparagus Stir Fry
Amount per Serving
Calories
163
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
7
g
11
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Sodium
 
826
mg
36
%
Potassium
 
293
mg
8
%
Carbohydrates
 
14
g
5
%
Fiber
 
4
g
17
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
13
g
26
%
Vitamin A
 
918
IU
18
%
Vitamin C
 
9
mg
11
%
Calcium
 
168
mg
17
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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