Tuesday, January 6, 2009

tofu stir-fry with spinach and okra

tofu, spinach and okra stirfry

It pains me to say this – but the cookies must take a break for a bit. My pants have told me this as well as the fact that I went through a total of twenty pounds of butter making treats for work. Twenty. Pounds. Of. Butter. And there are still butter reserves in my freezer, it’s like a mini-China in there. I promised the butter I would not abandon it forever, but a breather is much needed after the month of decadent and sweet treats.

tofu, spinach and okra stirfry

In addition to me swearing off cookies for awhile (let’s see how long that lasts), I also signed up for a half marathon in a few months to keep myself honest and motivated. While it’s both exciting and intimidating, I know it’s very achievable if I stick to a training routine with some discipline.

tofu, spinach and okra stirfry

I first made this stir-fry a few days ago as I was trying to save wilting spinach and sad-looking okra and was attempting my hand at something moderately healthy – and it was delicious. I threw in some ginger and spices for an added kick and served the vegetables over some brown rice. I know that not everyone likes okra – and it is a tough vegetable to love. A little slimy, without much flavor, okra is like an ugly step-child of the vegetable family. But it readily absorbs other flavors and envelops the dish in softness, which to me tastes comforting – perfect for a winter meal.

tofu, spinach and okra stirfry

And if tofu is not your thing, throw in some chicken instead, or other vegetables you might like. It’s a stir-fry so really – just about anything goes. Except for, maybe, cookies?

Tofu Stir-fry with Spinach and Okra

Olive oil
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp sambar powder
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 lb firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup spinach
1 cup cut okra
Salt to taste


Add a glug of olive oil to a non-stick skillet and warm it slowly over low heat. Add the spices and warm them up, being careful not to burn them, for about 60 seconds. Turn up the heat to medium-high and throw in garlic, ginger and onions. A few minutes after, dial the heat down to medium and add tofu. Cook the tofu until nicely browned on sides. At this point, add the spinach and okra and sauté for a few more minutes until nicely warmed. Add salt to season.

Serve over some cooked rice. If you want to add hot sauce, like Sriracha,

Serves 4.

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  • 1
    dailyfill said:

    You’re suddenly making me want tofu. I don’t even like tofu but I’m craving healthy eats after the holidays.
    What’s the second spice listed in the recipe? My browser is showing empty brackets.

    January 7, 2009 12:20 am
  • 2
    ann said:

    Twenty… Pounds… Of… Butter? WOW. You’re co-workers must looooove you. I know I would :-)
    But I hear you on the healthy food. I was hoping the economic downturn would equal a cookie downturn, but nope, didn’t happen. I’m on a healthy food kick now too. I’m not a big fan of okra, but the rest of this sounds delish!

    January 7, 2009 7:52 am
  • 3
    Caitlin said:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who signs themselves up for a half-marathon just so I can’t weasel out of working out :) It also gives me an excuse not to completely cut cookies out of my diet – they are a food group, right? Good luck with the half training!

    January 7, 2009 8:35 am
  • 4
    radish said:

    Dailyfill – sorry about the omission, it’s sambar powder — and i just fixed it.
    Ann – I’m ALL over budget-friendly meals. More of them coming soon.
    Caitlin – you and me both. We can give each other training tips :) And commiserate together. It’s a good reason to keep cookies close by – we will earn them.

    January 7, 2009 8:40 am
  • 5
    Kate said:

    I was also relieved that someone else signed up for races to keep them honest. I planned on a February marathon to keep me (somewhat) honest over the holidays. It kinda worked. After Saturday long runs, I feel like I can eat anything!

    January 7, 2009 3:36 pm
  • 6
    Amanda said:

    I long to do marathons, but sadly the only marathon I’d be good at is the elliptical marathon. Pedaling in a 5k? Sign me up :) But I am re-devoting myself to pilates and strength training. Some muscle was lost in the great cookie-demolishment of ’08.

    January 7, 2009 11:29 pm
  • 7
    marta said:

    This sounds really good. I’ve been experimenting with Malaysian food and found that okra is popular in SE Asia. They are called ‘Ladyfingers’ which is kind a charming name. They are pretty good stirfried or in a curry.

    February 7, 2009 9:26 pm
  • 8
    Christina said:

    That sounds awesome! I’ve been wanted to try more stir-fry dishes with tofu, and this is the next one on my list. I love how vibrant the colors are, and I never would have though of using okra in a stir-fry.

    February 14, 2009 6:48 pm
  • 9
    Kate said:

    Yum! Love me some tofu stir-frys. Don’t think I can get okra here this time of year, but am excited to try the spice combo. Sounds great!

    April 23, 2011 2:30 pm
  • 10
    Radish said:

    Kate – how about frozen okra? I think it’s always available.

    April 24, 2011 8:07 am
  • 11

    I tried this tonight because I found cheap okra and had some atsuage tofu. WOW, this was GREAT!! Absolutely hit the spot, and I thought it was perfect without Sriracha but when I added some Sriracha to try, I thought that was even better! I give this an 11/10…

    May 24, 2012 9:17 am
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