Soy-Braised Tofu With Bok Choy
For the Tofu:
1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry
Neutral oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon doubanjiang or chile oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
4 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts separated and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bell pepper (any color), stem and membrane removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 baby bok choy, trimmed and halved through the stem
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetarian stir-fry sauce or oyster sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Cut tofu across into ¾-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice in half so you have roughly 12 squares.
Heat a large (12-inch), deep-sided nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet on medium-high. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base. Place the tofu in a single layer, season each piece with a little salt and black pepper, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until golden and crispy. Flip and cook on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes more, adding more oil if needed. Remove tofu from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
Make the sauce: Combine the soy sauce, vegetarian stir-fry sauce or oyster sauce, cornstarch and sugar with ⅓ cup of water. Whisk until smooth.
In the same skillet over medium heat, add the doubanjiang or chile oil (if you’re using doubanjiang, add about 1 teaspoon of neutral oil) and stir for 15 seconds. Add the garlic, ginger and white parts of the scallion, and toss for 1 to 2 minutes, until the scallions are softened and everything is fragrant. If the pan starts to look dry, add a drop of oil.
Add the bell pepper and Shaoxing wine, if using, and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until slightly softened. Pour in the seasoning sauce and let it sizzle for 30 seconds, stirring once or twice.
Add the baby bok choy, tofu and green parts of the scallion, toss gently to coat the tofu. Let it simmer on low heat for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens, the baby bok choy is wilted but still green and crisp-tender, and the tofu has absorbed some of the sauce. Serve with rice or noodles.