Comforting and filling.

Tofu-fried Rice

This is not only fast and tasty, it is also excellent comfort food. My version of fried rice is egg free (because not everyone likes egg) and takes inspiration from Thai food. You’ll notice that there are a lot of optional ingredients on the list. It will be at its tastiest with all of them, but it’s still good with just a few. Thai cuisine is all about contrasts: there should be sweet, hot and sour, soft and crunchy in every bowlful, if not in every mouthful. I think that’s what makes it so comforting.

Like many of the recipes in this collection this is flexible: the size and weight of the onion or the exact amount of tofu doesn’t matter, you can add and remove ingredients to make your own perfect tofu-fried rice.

Serves: 2 very hungry people, 3 people who are also having salad. Prep: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10-15 minutes.
Stores: 2-3 days in the fridge. Tofu doesn’t freeze well.


  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife or cleaver
  • Wok or frying pan
  • Spatula or wooden spoon


  • 1 table spoon oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger (optional)
  • 200 grams cooked rice (from an instant pouch, or cooked separately)
  • 1 packet of tofu, silken or semi-firm (Cauldron makes a good one that is easy to get hold of)
  • 2-3 table spoons of soy sauce
  • Small red chilli (optional)
  • Handful finely chopped peanuts (optional)
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  • Handful finely chopped coriander (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (optional)


  1. Chop and fry the onion.
  2. Finely chop the garlic and add.
  3. Cook until soft, trying not to brown.
  4. Finely chop the ginger and add (if using).
  5. Add the rice (cooked in the microwave if using a pre=cooked pounch) and stir vigorously.
  6. Add the tofu. Pick it up (with clean hands) and squeeze it through your fingers, or chuck the whole block in and hack away at it with the spatula. You want it to be fairly fine, like the egg in egg-fried rice, but big chunks are a pleasing touch, so don’t be too particular.
  7. When everything is hot, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, peanuts, chilli and coriander (if using).
  8. Divide between plates and squeeze a generous amount of lemon over each dish (if you like it sour), or serve with half a lemon on the plate and squeeze as you eat.


  • Go (British) Chinese: Keep the oil, onion, rice and tofu, replace everything else with a cupful of frozen peas and a tin of sweetcorn. Drizzle with a tea spoon of sesame oil.
  • Go all out veggie: Keep the oil, onion, rice and tofu and through in a bowlful of finely chopped vegetables, say a pepper, a courgette, half an aubergine. Stir until everything is soft. Fresh herbs like parsley or basil works well with this version.
  • Go kedgeree: Keep the oil, onion, rice but swap the tofu for smoked tofu. Then add a cup of frozen peas. Serve with half a hard-boiled egg on top.

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