This easy and healthy garlic tofu stir-fry recipe is loaded with authentic flavors and it tastes better than take-out. Soft on the inside, with a light golden crisp exterior on the outside, this tofu recipe pairs perfectly with cooked veggies or your favorite rice. 

A pan of Tofu freshly cooked and glazed with soy garlic sauce. Topped with scallion.

Growing up, garlic tofu stir fry was my favorite dish that my dad would cook. He had the most amazing tofu recipe that I would always beg him to make.

It’s something that’s so simple yet so flavorful, and always brings back memories of my childhood.

Different Types of Tofu and How to Use Them

There are several different types of tofu to choose from, and a variety of ways to cook it as well.

The type of tofu and cooking method that you choose will depend on the type of recipe that you are making.

The beauty of using tofu in recipes is that it is so versatile and it can soak up any flavor that you give it.

Tofu is categorized based on its texture, which is determined by the water content of the tofu. The creamier the tofu is, the higher the water content is

There are 5 different categories of tofu:

firm soy protein cut into cubes

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is one of my favorites.

It’s silky and creamy, with one of the highest water contents.

Silken tofu in itself can vary in consistency due to the amount of soy protein, but this type of tofu is best used in dishes that are creamy or that will be blended such as dips, smoothies, pudding, etc.

Regular Tofu

This texture of tofu is still soft, but not quite as soft as silken.

It is most often used in soups and stews because of its ability to soak up flavors, however, it does not do well with high heat cooking (like in pan or deep frying) and is likely to crumble if exposed to too high temperature. 

A bowl of Chinese Garlic Tofu stir fry on a bed of rice. Topped with scallion.

Firm Tofu

One of the most common types of tofu and is the most commonly found in grocery stores in The US. 

It is usually packaged with liquid and in a block form. The texture is similar to feta; it won’t crumble when picked up and can be chopped into desired sizes.

Firm tofu is also one of the most versatile; can be added to soups and stews and tolerate high heat cooking, like for a stir-fry 😉

Extra-Firm Tofu

Similar to the firm tofu, but with less water content.

This can withstand high heat cooking, however, it does not absorb flavors quite as easily.

Ingredients for this Tofu Stir Fry

Tofu: I am using a block of firm tofu here. No need to use tofu press. Unlike many other “crispy tofu” recipes, this stir fry recipe is meant to produce tofu bites that are tender and soft on the inside.

Eggs seem to be a very commonly seen ingredient in my Chinese dish growing up. My parents always say eggs add the additional umami flavor to many dishes. Similarly, the egg wash here is used to coat the tofu before pan frying. Not only it elevate the flavor to a whole new level, but also gives it a golden brown seared appearance.

Garlic, Ginger, and Green Onion are the three musketeers in Asian cooking if you ask me. 90% of my dad’s stir fry recipes start with sauteing these 3 ingredients in hot oil to “Qiang Guo” 炝锅 (prepare the wok) until fragrant. It adds many layers to the flavor profile.

Soy sauce (low sodium) is the main condiment for this tofu stir fry. You might already know that I make many recipes with coconut aminos. It is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce with a much more mild flavor and less salty. It also has a light hint of sweetness. You can use either one for this recipe. If you are choosing to use coconut aminos, you can use up to 1/4 cup because it is not as potent as soy sauce.

Starch and broth mix together to create the stickiness for the sauce. When starch is heated, it thickens the liquid. You can use either cornstarch or arrowroot starch.

Ways To Prepare and Cook Tofu

A pan of Asian Garlic Tofu stir fry freshly cooked and glazed with soy garlic sauce. Topped with scallion.

There are so many ways to cook tofu. My favorite way is stir-frying and frying.

Besides the stir fry method used in this recipe, here are some other ways you can make them to your liking.

Bake:

Bake at 400 F for about 35-40 minutes. You will know it’s done when it’s golden brown, slightly crispy on the outside, and soft in the center.

If you like your tofu extra crispy, make sure to have a heavier press to release more of the liquid. Press extra firm tofu for at least 30 minutes before cooking it. 

Fry

Use a small amount of oil in a skillet and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes.

Both sides will be golden and crispy when done. (Or use an air fryer. Recipe coming soon!)

Scramble

This is the perfect vegan alternative to a scrambled egg dish.

How to Make Healthy Garlic Tofu Stir Fry

Start by coating the cubed tofu with egg:

Now, combine the ingredients for the sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, broth/water, starch:
Now, combine the ingredients for the sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, broth/water, starch:
Whisk the sauce in a bowl until well combined.
Whisk the sauce in a bowl until well combined.

Now, let’s prepare the wok:

Saute aromatic is very important first step to most Chinese cooking my parents have taught me. It’s called “Qiang Guo”, which directly translates as “Prepare the Wok”.

Ways to to Serve Garlic Tofu Stir Fry

A bowl of Chinese Garlic Tofu stir fry on a bed of rice. Topped with scallion.

Like any other stir fry, this recipe goes well with any stir-fried veggies that you like to use along with any rice that you like.

Some of my favorites are jasmine rice or cauliflower rice if you’re trying to keep the dish low carb.

What do you like in your stir fry? Leave a comment below!

A pan of Asian Garlic Tofu stir fry freshly cooked and glazed with soy garlic sauce. Topped with scallion.

Get the recipe:Garlic Tofu Stir Fry

Soft on the inside, with a light golden crisp on the outside, and coated with a sticky garlic sauce, this easy and healthy garlic tofu stir-fry recipe is loaded with authentic flavor and it tastes better than take-out.
4.66 stars (23 reviews)

Ingredients

  • 1 block firm tofu, *14oz
  • 1 egg , **See notes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 stalks of green onion, chopped, white, and green parts separated
  • 2 – 3 tbsp oil for stir-frying
  • Salt to taste, optional

Sauce

  • 2 – 3 tbsp soy sauce , ***See notes
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot flour or cornstarch
  • 2 – 3 tbsp filtered water

Equipment

Instructions 

  • Drain and dry the tofu with a few pieces of paper towel. Then cut into cubes.
  • Whisk 1 egg and add to the tofu, season with a pinch of salt. Gently mix the tofu and eggs to coat thoroughly. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 – 3 tbsp cooking oil in a big pan on high to medium heat. Once hot, add garlic, ginger, and the white part of the green onion. Saute for 30 – 45 sec or until fragrant (watch it closely so it doesn’t burn).
  • Add tofu to the pan, count 5 – 7 Mississippis while the egg mixture on the bottom set a little bit. Then gently flip a few times. Cook all sides of the tofu for about 2 – 3 minutes or until golden brown (it doesn’t have to be perfect).
  • Turn the heat down to low and slowly pour in the sauce. The liquid should begin to become sticky immediately. Turn off the heat. Gently stir until the sauce thoroughly coats everything.
  • Garnish with the green parts of the green onion and sesame seeds (optional). Enjoy!

Notes

  1. * You can also use extra firm tofu
  2. **Omit the egg for Vegan option
  3. *** If using coconut aminos, use 1/4 cup, if using regular soy sauce, start with 2 tablespoon or to taste (regular and low sodium produce different salty level) I used 2.5 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce OR 1/4 cup coconut aminos for this recipe. No additional salt is needed.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 315kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 414mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g

The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.

I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOUR CREATIONS! YOU CAN USE “TRIED IT” ON PINTEREST OR SHARE ON INSTAGRAM BY TAGGING #SHUANGYSEATS

A bowl of Chinese Garlic Tofu stir fry on a bed of rice. Topped with scallion.