If you cook a lot of tofu, you’ll know that it really does need to be patted dry, as the recipe instructs. The more water you can squeeze out of it, the crispier it will become when fried. That crispy tofu is a great contrast to the bok choy stems, which get soft and creamy.
1 1/2 pounds bok choy
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 block firm tofu (about 1 pound), cut into 1â„4-inch slices and patted dry
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 or 2 fresh hot chiles (like jalapeno or Thai), seeded, minced
8 ounces daikon radish, cut into 1â„4-inch coins
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
Cut the leaves from the stems of the bok choy. Trim the stems as necessary, then cut them into 1-inch pieces. Cut the leaves into wide ribbons and keep them separate from the stems.
Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, slide in the tofu, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook until the bottoms are crisp and golden, 3 to 5 minutes; carefully flip and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes on the other side. When the tofu slices are done, transfer them to paper towels to drain.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chile and cook, stirring, for just 1 minute. Add the bok choy stems and daikon and cook, stirring occasionally, until they just lose their crunch, about 3 minutes.
Add the bok choy leaves and about 1â„2 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the stems and radish are fully tender, 5 to 10 minutes; add a little more water if necessary. Return the tofu to the pan, stir in the soy sauce, and sprinkle with black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.