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
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- 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!