Over the years it has dawned on me that I am perhaps more Malay than Indian when it comes to my food choices. Offer me a generous plate of stir-fried Kangkong and I would forgo the pot of Butter Chicken without so much as a second glance. Well, maybe it’s that easy for me since I never liked Butter Chicken anyway. But a plate of Biryani – now you’ve me getting greedy and highly confused on what to pick!
The main difference I find in the way vegetables are usually cooked in India and Malaysia is the amount of time it takes. Indian vegetables are often cooked to the max – entirely absorbed of all the seasonings and completely cooked through. Which would easily explain why I was never a fan of the dreaded Alu Gobi – who likes a cauliflower all mushy and soft? We recently had a BBQ party where I grilled cauliflower florets marinated in yogurt and spices till they were tender, yet still retained a slight crunch; it was to die for! Malaysian vegetables on the other hand, are often lightly stir- fried. The dish results in a burst of flavours and the veggies maintain their rich colour and crispness.
A couple of days ago I found myself at a gem of an Asian grocery store. This tiny place carried all sorts of Asian greens you could imagine, complete with all the hard-to-substitute fixins’ like Kaffir lime leaves, galangal and garlic chives. I had finally found my candyland. Spending the time there feeling, picking, and smelling the vegetables transported me to my childhood days – those where Mom would often dish out quick Malaysian vegetable dishes that I would actually enjoy eating.
I finally got home two hours later laden with two large bags of fresh produce and another one with a treasure trove of Southeast Asian pantry essentials. From Laksa, Thai curry and Tom Yum pastes to the best curry powder blends my pots have ever touched upon, I am now fully equipped! Each time I’ve looked into my pantry the past few days, I come out with a wealth of ideas for my next upcoming meals. I’ve been churning a wonderful array of fusion dinners for us and Hubby Dear’s waistline is having to bear the brunt of it. Let’s just say that it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to him when I hand him a gym membership as his b’day gift!
CHILLI TOFU WITH BEANS & BOK CHOY
Prep time: 10 min | Cooking time: 20 min | Serves: 4
1 block of firm tofu, cubed
2 large bunches of bok choy, chopped: green and white parts separated
a big handful of green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp light cooking oil
salt, to taste
Heat about 1 tsp of oil in a deep non-stick wok, and fry cubed tofu till slightly golden all over. Set aside.
Add in remaining oil in the pan and saute garlic and onions till soft and lightly browned. Add in spices and fry for a few seconds.
Throw in chopped tomatoes, season with salt and fry for a few minutes. Add in tomato paste and tamarind extract, and continue to fry, breaking up tomatoes till it starts to dry out and give out oil from the sides.
Add in beans and tofu, and stir fry till beans are cooked but still crisp. Add in bok choy, and stir fry till it starts to wilt. Serve warm.
Tried this recipe? Leave a Comment and let me know, also Rate it by clicking the number of stars on the recipe card. Want to share your version with me? Tag me on Instagram @hookedonheat
After lot of googling, I happened to come across your blog. I am complete newbie when it comes to cooking but today I tried your Chili Tofu with Bok choy and it turned out fabulous. My wife has been asked to eat tofu due to gestational diabetics just loved the flavor, aroma & taste. Thanks for writing the blog. Keep writing & I will continue experimenting other dishes on blog!
Hey,Last night’s dinner was this dish, though i forgot to add tamarind Paste and substituted Bok Choy with spinach. Yummy and healthy.. I was feeling happy to see my plate full of good stuff.. Tofu fried that way in curries tastes very good and now many ideas are flowing out.. Thank you Meena… U have such colorful imagination.
I made this dish last weekend and it was a hit!
What is tamarind concentrate?
Can readymade tomato puree be used instead of tomato paste?
It is so my-kind of a dish – will definitely give this a shot. Btw, what happened to the book club that you started?
So good to re-discover you again. I like the way you write. I LOVE Malaysian and Singaporen food much more than Thai food. Do you have any recipes for Rendang chicken?
May I ask, Where is this new Asian store that you recently found? I’ve been looking for Kaffir lime leaves for a long time here in TO and haven’t found any yet.
I am so glad I found your blog…just got here while blog hopping…this looks delightful…and a very interesting combination 🙂
Hi, I just made this recipe and it turned out great! I did tweak it though..i added fresh chili peppers to make it spicier and a dash of ground anar dana powder to bring out the sourness of the tamarind. Thank you for your recipe! 🙂
Yummy and Delightful dish Meena..:)
Once again, great recipe! I made it last night and didn’t have bok choy on hand, so substituted spinach and bean sprouts. Also added some coriander. Yum yum!
Meena, what a gorgeous dish presentation. Amazing, as always, I am so hungry just browsing your pictures!
your pictures come out so good. we like tofu so will try this!
James White says
This is a very nice and easy to prepare recipe. I am very much keen to prepare this recipe. When I should enjoy this then I love to share my experience here.
looks nice. we love tofu so will try it
Scott at Realepicurean says
I can barely make tofu palatable yet alone delicious (as in your photograph) – how the hell do you do it?!
Where have you been woman? This dish looks too good.
Great dish! I made it a few days ago. I am glad I found this blog because I have recently moved out and discovered the joys of cooking my own food 🙂
I look forward to trying more new recipes!
Dana McCauley says
Nice looking dish! Where is this great store you found?
It’s a tiny store right in a strip mall right beside the Vaughan Mills shopping arena, not sure of it’s name though!
Sounds like a good alternative to chilli panneer and a healthy way to include some protein for vegetarians. If you wouldn’t mind can you email me what store you are talking about in your post. I would so love to browse around.
It definitely is much healthier Sangeetha, and a nice change from paneer as well.
chilli tofu with beans and bok choy look great! So many great vegan recipes in this blog!
Thanks Kumudha, I’ve categorized my recipes so it’ll be easier to go through the Vegan ones. Do let me know if you happen to try any of them out!
mmm tofu is amazing. but paired with bok choy and green beans!! i think i just went to heaven!
I like the little touch with the tamarind concentrate.
I think I can taste it from here…
I think I need to learn more about Malaysian cooking. This looks fantastic! And, The Spice Merchan’ts Daughter just got added to my reading list.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the book Lisa, it’s only of my prized treasures this season!
This is cool. I will probably try it. Thanks for sharing..
Looks great! I Like the name – ‘Joys of green’. I simply love the magic of bok choy in malay and thai dishes!
Ashima Taneja says
Hi Meena, lovely dish .. I always fall in love with the color of your dishes! Thanks!
looks fabulous! I too like those lightly stir-fried veggies with a slight crunch! I’ll just indulge into the taste fully.. Love the appetizing color of your dish..
Meena, this looks wonderful and I even have everything on hand that is needed to make it. Looking forward to trying it. 🙂
Do let me know how it turned out for you Cassie, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
i absolutely love malay food too – and singaporean. we dont get any of the spices here in india – or rather, i’ve never seen it. looking forward to all your wonderful upcoming posts! this one looks so delicious!
I know what you mean Arundathi, my Mom would have to go shop at special markets to get everything she needed when she was in India. It almost took her a whole day to get whatever was on her list!