Crispy Lemongrass Tofu and Braised Baby Bok Choy

6 Nov

This dinner was a delicious combination of sweet, spicy, savory, crispy, and soft.  Even the most ardent carnivore won’t miss their meat one bit while eating this filling, satisfying dish.  The side of baby bok choy added a delicious “crunch” to the softer, smoother textures of the tofu dish.  If you are not used to cooking with Asian flavors, this is a really easy dinner that will get you used to some of the common ingredients (lemon grass, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sesame) and techniques (draining your tofu and stir fry).  Although this was plenty for the two of us without it, this dinner would be delicious with some jasmine or other white rice to serve a larger crowd.

Crispy Lemongrass Tofu and Braised Baby Bok Choy

Crispy Lemongrass Tofu:

Adapted from

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. canola oil, divided

1 14 oz. block firm tofu, drained¹ and cut into 1″ cubes

1/4 cup yellow corn meal

2 eggs (or 1 double-yolked egg, which I used)

1 tbs. water

1 1/2 cups Japanese-style panko bread crumbs

Freshly cracked black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

1 green onion, sliced, white and green parts divided

3 tbs. canned sliced lemon grass

2 tbs. Sriracha sauce

2 tbs. honey

3 tbs. fish sauce

Whisk together eggs and water.  Mix together yellow corn meal and freshly cracked black pepper.  Coat tofu with yellow corn meal, then egg wash, then panko crumbs.

Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in medium heavy saucepan.  In batches, fry tofu until golden brown.  Drain each batch on paper towels and set aside.

Heat remaining canola oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Add garlic cloves, red onion, bell pepper, and lemon grass.  Season with about half of Sriracha.  Sauté vegetables until onions are tender and translucent, tossing constantly.  Add tofu, honey, remainder of Sriracha, and fish sauce.  Toss to coast tofu and sauté roughly 4-5 minutes until glaze has reduced and tofu is heated through.  Serve alongside braised baby bok choy.

Braised Baby Bok Choy:

Adapted from Epicurious

4-5 heads baby bok choy, trimmed

2 cups homemade seafood stock²

2 tbs. Brummel & Brown butter substitute

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame seeds

Freshly cracked black pepper

Bring broth and Brummel & Brown to a simmer in a medium stock pot.  Place baby bok choy in the simmering liquid and cover.  Simmer, covered, 5-10 minutes until cooked through.  I cooked ours about six minutes and it was al dente, which is how I prefer it.  Zak likes his bok choy more well done, so next time I will simmer the full ten minutes.

Remove from the baby bok choy from the braising liquid and cover with tinfoil to keep warm.  Add sesame oil, soy sauce, and freshly cracked black pepper to braising linquid Raise heat to high on braising liquid and reduce until roughly 1/2 cup.

Spoon braising liquid over the baby bok choy and top with sesame seeds.  Serve alongside the crispy lemongrass tofu.

¹  Generally, I cut the tofu block in half height-wise (so it is half as thick).  Then, I place 4-5 paper towels underneath and on top of the tofu.  I top it with my heaviest pan and a large bottle of wine.  After about half an hour, I change out the paper towels and drain for another half an hour.

²  I have not posted a recipe for homemade seafood stock as of yet.  If you are interested in making your own, it is the same procedure as chicken stock.  Simply place your proteins, vegetables, and herbs in a large stock pot, cover with water, and simmer several hours.  For the seafood stock for this recipe, I used clam shells, a few fillets of frozen tilapia, 1/2 lb. frozen, tail-on shrimp, and a gallon freezer bag of vegetable scraps.

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