This post originally appeared as a guest post on Better Homes & Gardens! I’m a pretty big fan. So I was super excited when they invited me to take one of their popular recipes and make it meatless for my readers.
A lot of people think that vegetarian cooking is intimidating or difficult, but I promise you it doesn’t have to be. And you can take just about any recipe and make it meatless. Yes, really, you can!
Is there anything more satisfying than taking a meaty recipe and making it vegetarian? Okay, yes, there are probably a lot of things more satisfying than that. (Winning the lottery? Definitely more satisfying.) But I still love that feeling of victory I get when I take something I can't eat and make it into something tasty and meatless.
I wanted to challenge myself, so I choose their Mango-Chili Chicken Stir-Fry recipe. I prefer not to use processed meat substitutes in my cooking, so I decided to replace the chicken with a package of extra-firm tofu.
Wait! Don’t click away! Don’t give me the side-eye.
When you prepare tofu the right way, it’s delicious. So I’m going to show you the best way to make it.
Making Tofu that Tastes Good
Tofu is packaged in water, so in order for it to absorb the flavors of the dish you’re preparing, you need to press that nasty tofu water out. If you just take the tofu out of the package, dice it up, and throw it in a stir fry, you will not like tofu. It needs pressing!
How to Press Tofu
I have a tofu press for this purpose, and it makes the job a LOT easier. But this is how you can press your tofu without one:
- Put 2-3 layers of paper towels on a cutting board.
- Put your tofu on top of that, then another layer of paper towels and another cutting board.
- Weigh everything down with bottles and cans and let the tofu sit like this for 30 minutes. Trust me, it’s worth it!
Making Mango Chili Tofu Stir Fry
After pressing the tofu, I cut it into 16 triangles. There’s no real reason for triangles, but they look nice, right?).
Next, I heated 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cooked the tofu for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until it was browned and crispy. (Oh, and you can use any kind of cooking oil you like–no need to go out and buy grapeseed oil if you don’t have it on hand.)
Remove the tofu from the skillet and set it on a few layers of paper towels to absorb some of the excess oil, then stir fry the peppers, add the tofu back in, and stir in the fiery mango sauce.
The only other slight change I made to the original Mango-Chili Chicken Stir-Fry recipe is that instead of using dried chile peppers, I tossed in a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and I added some black sesame seeds at the end.
Oh, and I diced the mango instead of slicing it because I still haven’t figured out how to slice a mango without potentially losing a thumb.
I served this with brown rice and it was absolutely delicious–we loved the sweet-and-spicy mango sauce with the crispy, chewy tofu. If you’re looking for an easy Meatless Monday dinner, this is it!
- ⅓ cup bottled mango chutney
- 2 teaspoons Asian chili garlic sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes add more for additional spice
- 16 oz firm tofu pressed to remove extra moisture
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1- to 2-inch strips
- 1 mango seeded, peeled, and diced
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or other cooking oil
- 2 cups cooked brown rice for serving
- black sesame seeds for garnish
- For sauce, in a small bowl, combine chutney, chili garlic sauce, ginger, and garlic. Set aside.
For Stir Fry
- Cut tofu into 16 triangular pieces. (Be sure tofu is pressed before starting to cook, to remove excess moisture.)
- In a large wok or large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for 10 seconds.
- Add tofu, and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove from pan and set aside on paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Add the bell peppers to the pan. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes, until just tender.
- Add the tofu back into the pan. Add sauce, stirring to coat all, and heat through.
- Serve over rice and top with diced mango and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.
This post was originally published in 2013. It has since been updated.