Tofu with Curried Cabbage and Carrots

  • By Jess Dang
  • February 2, 2014

Tofu Curried Cabbage #recipe via @cooksmarts

Not everyone is a tofu fan. Some of tofu’s most common offenses are: 1) it tastes bland and 2) it’s so mushy. Luckily this Tofu with Curried Cabbage and Carrots recipe features tofu that is flavorful and crispy.

The key with tofu and really any protein is to maximize surface area for flavor. A solid block of tofu has a lot less surface area to coat in seasoning than one that’s been chopped up. It’s why a chicken stir-fry has a lot more flavor than say a chicken breast served whole. You only have so much room to coat it in sauce. In this recipe, we chop up the tofu into ‘matchsticks’ and then stir-fry them first with jalapeños and fish or soy sauce to give it some heat and savoriness.

Tofu Curried Cabbage #recipe via @cooksmarts

This extra stir-frying step gives the tofu a golden sear and also makes the outside a lot more crispy solving the problem of mushy tofu. Plus, I always recommend extra-firm, vacuum packed tofu which is a lot denser and less likely to fall apart into a mushy mess while cooking.

You can honestly make a big batch of this tofu at the beginning of the week and throw it in anything – salads, wraps, stir-fries, or even soups. For this dinner recipe though, we pair it with curried cabbage and carrots that provides a delicious vegetable base. I’ll guarantee that no one at the dinner table will find this dish bland or boring in any way!

What’s your favorite way to prepare tofu? I’d love to hear how you enjoy this fun vegetable in the comments below.

Prepping Smarts:

Dust off your food processor and learn how easy it is to grate both carrots and cabbage using those attachments:

Equipment Smarts:

A non-stick wok like this is an inexpensive addition to every kitchen and will enable you to easily cook a lot more stir-fries.


For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our ‘Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools’ page

Tofu with Curried Cabbage and Carrots
Author: Jess Dang
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4
This is a tofu dish that will convince tofu-haters to love tofu. By chopping it into matchsticks, we expose more surface area, which means more opportunity for flavor binding turning sometimes plain tofu into something tasty. Served over curried cabbage and carrots, this vegetarian dish will fill your kitchen with amazing fragrance.
  • Ingredients
  • Brown rice – 1 1/3 cups, uncooked
  • Jalapenos – 2, seeded and diced
  • Carrots – 2/3 lb., grated
  • Small green or red cabbage – 1 head, sliced
  • Cilantro – 1/4 bunch, chopped
  • Peanuts – 1/4 cup, crushed
  • Extra-firm tofu – 1 lb.
  • Cooking oil – 2 1/2 tbs.
  • Soy or fish sauce – 2 tbs. + 2 tbs.
  • Brown sugar – 1 tbs. + 1 tbs.
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Red curry paste – 2 tbs.
  • Vegetable broth – 1 cup
  • Lime – 1, juice of
  1. Rice – Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Rice is done when it’s absorbed all the water, 35 to 45 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Jalapenos / Carrots / Cabbage / Cilantro – Prep as directed. Both carrots and cabbage can be prepped in a food processor. Otherwise, grate carrots in a box grater and chop cabbage. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Peanuts – Crush. You can put them into a ziploc bag and just run a rolling pin (or wine bottle!) over them a few times. (Can be done at anytime)
  4. Tofu – Slice into matchsticks. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
  1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add oil and then jalapenos to heated oil with some salt. Next add in tofu with first parts of soy or fish sauce and brown sugar, plus a generous sprinkle of black pepper. Toss and then let sit. Liquid ingredients will boil and thicken to make a sauce. Saute until tofu has absorbed the sauce and is golden brown on the outside, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Return wok to heat and then add in coconut milk, curry paste, second parts of soy or fish sauce and brown sugar. Whisk together. Next add in cabbage and carrots with broth. Saute until tender but still crunchy, 6 to 8 minutes. Finish with lime juice and season to taste with more salt, pepper, curry paste, or sweetener.
  3. Enjoy curried cabbage and carrots topped with tofu over rice. Sprinkle on cilantro and peanuts.


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