Melissa Ray Davis is a freelance writer and photographer who enjoys writing about DIY topics, including cooking.
Asparagus is one of my all-time favorite vegetables because of its unique flavor and fresh texture. If you too are a fan of asparagus, you will love this simple but flavorful recipe using a savory marinade and brown garlic sauce. This recipe is vegetarian and vegan.
How to Select Your Asparagus
The key to a good asparagus dish is good asparagus, of course! There are a few things to look for when selecting fresh asparagus. First, look for the thinnest stalks you can find. The thinner the stalk, the more tender the vegetable. Second, look at the cut end of the stalk. If it is very dried out, the asparagus is probably old, or at the very least badly kept. Finally, you want a rich green color. Avoid stalks that are faded, whitish, or browning.
This recipe serves two. Feel free to adjust ingredient amounts to your liking if cooking for a larger group.
- 1 cup dry jasmine rice or other long-grain white rice.
- 2 cups water
- vegetable or peanut oil
- 8 oz. extra-firm pressed tofu
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/8 cup rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 1/4 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or crushed
- 1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- water to cover
- 2 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp. black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
- 2 tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 5 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger root
- 1 1/2 tbsp. rice wine or dry sherry
- 3 tbsp. water
1. Prepare the tofu. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch thick triangles. Gently press between woven cloth to remove excess moisture. Dry-fry in a Teflon pan over medium heat with no oil, pressing with a spatula frequently. It is done when firm and golden on both sides. (See How to Cook Tofu Like the Pros: Dry-fry and Marinate Method for detailed instructions on pressing and dry-frying tofu, a professional technique).
2. Meanwhile, prepare the marinade. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl, then submerge the tofu after dry-frying.
3. Start cooking the rice (follow the directions for whatever variety you have).
4. Prepare the brown sauce. Heat all brown sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat (medium for a gas range). Bring to a boil and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Stir-fry. Heat a well-seasoned wok until smoking over medium-high to high heat (or use a large pan if you do not have a wok). Add about 3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil to the wok, then add drained tofu and asparagus. Stir-fry over medium-high to high heat just until asparagus is tender but still slightly crunchy. Cut the heat and toss the stir-fry with the brown sauce.
6. Serve immediately over rice. Enjoy!
Cheryl Steckler on July 18, 2015:
Love this recipe. Can you give me the nutritional info with calories?
Ric W. on June 11, 2013:
This sounds absolutely amazing, I'll be trying this out this weekend for sure! Thank you!!!
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Claudia Tello from Mexico on February 07, 2013:
I didn't know one could substitute rice wine with dry sherry! Thanks for the tip, it comes in very useful since rice wine in Mexico is a bit expensive and difficult to get.
Rhonda on February 28, 2012:
I've given up meat for Lent and am looking for alternative cooking, this is on my menu for tonight...
Sally on September 02, 2011:
I made this for dinner tonight and everyone loved it. They said this recipe is a keeper. Thanks so much for posting it.
Sabrina on August 01, 2011:
Thanks for sharing, this is so yummy and not that hard to make at all
Gerry Walker from Treasure Coast, Florida on January 31, 2011:
I can't use pepper at all but find garlic gives peppery flavor enough for most things. I use LOTS of garlic!
Since I have angioedema (hives-- but in my tongue!)I'm only allowed five spices: chives, garlic, onion, saffron and sea salt -- I use them in nearly everything I cook; and of course it's all from scratch since I can't have any additives,etc.
alyssa on January 27, 2011:
my boyfriend and i seriously seriously can't get enough of this recipe. dry-frying is a marvel. i blogged about the method and the recipe here: http://bookdinner.com/bloggers/dry-frying-a-must-f...
Karina on January 19, 2011:
I have a question about the "marinade", am i supposed to drain the tofu then marinade for how long then drain it again? i need someone to help me out someone whos done this recipe before. i LOVE tofu, but id like to make some for myself and learn how to cook it :D thank you.
P.S. im tofu cooking ignorant! i need knowledge!
dana on August 22, 2010:
Made this last night and it was awesome
Ivy on August 19, 2010:
Wow, this is super fantastic. My boyfriend and I have recently gone vegan, and I've had a hard time adjusting to tofu. I LOVE to cook, and this was so delicious my boyfriend literally licked his plate. Thanks for the recipe! AND for teaching me how to dry-fry. Greatest thing to happen to tofu. :)
Peanut on April 12, 2010:
Num! Nummy! Nummedy! Num! I LOVE TOFU!
Cheryl on November 15, 2009:
I'm cooking this right now, and it smells so AMAZING, I cannot wait for it to be done!!!
Abby on November 03, 2009:
I just made this and thought it was a mouthful of AWESOME!
I have never dry fried tofu before, and I think I did alright! Next time I might cook it a little longer seeing as I liked the tougher pieces. I also thought I could do with a tablespoon less of oil to cook the asparagus. Otherwise, this was a huge winner! I cant wait to make it again!!!
Melissa Ray Davis (author) from Swannanoa, NC on October 06, 2009:
Kevin, sorry, pepper isn't for everyone. If you're especially sensitive to spice it would be a good idea to reduce the amount of pepper you use. (The ginger and garlic can be slightly spicy as well). I was aiming for authenticity with this recipe, and I'm a big fan of Chinese brown sauces.
Kevin on October 05, 2009:
I appreciate the info on how to dry and marinate tofu - but this recipe isn't great. The brown sauce had way too much white pepper and didn't work for my tastes.
em on March 13, 2009:
ooooh looks good! im actualy a highschool/ homeschooled student, and am researching tofu, its origins, recipes. etc.!! so this is gunna be great!!
Christa on March 07, 2009:
I made this last night and added sugar snap peas and marinated shrimp with the tofu. I also used rice noodles and sauteed all together at the end. The marinade, sauce and advice on how to prepare tofu were excellent!
pircusz on September 16, 2008:
I have been looking for a good tofu stir-fry recipe. This is amazing, I didn't make it with asparagus, I made it with sliced peppers, onions, and mushroom and at the end I have added steamed broccoli. Amazing.
bobw from Laurel, DE on February 10, 2008:
Great looking recipe!
MERCEDES M on January 24, 2008:
THIS RECIPE IS THE GREATES EVEN FOR THE ONES THAT DON'T LOVE TOFU.
Bob Ewing from New Brunswick on November 10, 2007:
This combines a few of my favourite things.
Melissa Ray Davis (author) from Swannanoa, NC on May 28, 2007:
Thanks, both of you. And yes, it's delicious!
CareyYo from Fullerton on May 22, 2007:
This sounds yummy.
tshirtscene on May 22, 2007:
Yum, I love asparagus! and this is with tofu, I'll have to try this recipe out.