Thai style stir fried tofu with basil

“Mulling the notion of “cooked with love,” or “made with love.”  Can “Love” influence the result of cooking? If so, how? Is it measurable? ” that’s how the thread started on social network forum, opinions poured in, some reveals that they use love potion in their cooking, some begged to differ and others streamed the discussion to a different channel. This made me thinking that though we often used the term loosely to some extent but does it really influenced our cooking in any way ?
I was of the opinion that ” I think cooked with love may also meant – that the chef / or the person has taken utmost care to dish out something nice which could be enjoyed by the people. When you cooked something good, with care obviously mind is free of negativity, that’s makes cooking relaxing rather than a chore.”
If you are focussed, then why just cooking , you will be able to execute any job with perfection and with utmost conviction. For the home cooks, cooking may not sounds like a job to them, to some it may be a daily chore which needs to be done somehow and to some it is one of the pleasurable exercise from which they can derive personal sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from doing something that makes them happy.

tofu stir fried

But do the restaurant chefs falls into these category too ? Perhaps not, when it comes to restaurant kitchen it is anything but the place where you can attain complete nirvana rather than it is the place where anger, frustrations, stress  seems to spice up the food and in spite of that they dished out the food in perfect execution (a job well done !)  and when they failed , they received severe criticism from the food critics

So back to square one ! How the “love” influenced your cooking, does it makes the food tastier or is it just an advertisement gimmicks used by the food companies or does it makes you feel better when some one says :  “cooked with love”, other than the ingredients, techniques and your personal state of mind, are there any hocus-pocus involved in making the food tastier ?

stir fried tofu with basil

In one word this dish is hot, I should caution you before you go awry and trying it out and cursing me 🙂 but then only it reveals its true flavours, it is hot but not fiery and if you are little impervious to the heat, you might like its taste as well.

Thai stir fried tofu

The idea was to use Thai bird chillies but here no grocer seems to stock them, even the oriental ones too. So I replaced the bird chillies , from where the Thai food derives its heat, with sambal olek , a South Asian chilli paste used mainly in Malaysian cuisine and I must say no regrets at all.
This recipe got the inspiration from here, and I took some liberty and added the crushed peanuts too and drizzle some seasoned sesame oil over it. When it comes to Thai cooking I can not resist myself from adding the peanuts in it, still under the influence of Pad Thai you can say ! 😀
sambal olek / thai chilli paste

Thai style stir fried tofu with basil
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Stir fried tofu taste best when they are spiced up with Thai bird chillies and basil brings the flavour in them.
Recipe type: Vegetarian side
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 3
  • Firm tofu (Nasoya) : 1 box
  • Shallots (finely chopped) : 1
  • Thai bird chillies (substitute with sambal olek) : 3 tbsp or adjust to your taste
  • Garlic (minced) : 1 tbsp
  • Crushed peanuts : 1-2 tbsp
  • Red bell peppers (diced): 1 (optional)
  • Dark soy sauce : 1 tbsp
  • Thai Basil (substitute with Italian sweet basil) : a large handful
  • White pepper : 1 tsp
  • Stock / water : ¼ cup
  • Oil for stir frying : 1 tbsp
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • Seasoned sesame oil to drizzle
  1. Cut the firm tofu into cubes, finely chopped the shallots, and minced the garlic.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok and add the garlic, shallots and chilli paste (sambal olek) and saute them for few seconds.
  3. Add the crushed peanuts, red bell pepper and tofu. Stir fried them for 10- 15 seconds.
  4. Add the dark soy sauce, white pepper powder, fry for couple of seconds and add the water / stock.
  5. Stir fried them for couple of more minutes until the sauce thickens a bit.
  6. Adjust the seasonings, tear some basil leaves and add it to the wok.
  7. Wait until the basil wilted, drizzle some seasoned sesame oil over it and take it off the heat.
  8. Serve the stir fried tofu on a bed of steamed jasmine rice or enjoy it with noodles.
  9. Quick notes
  10. This dish meant to be hot, so if you are serving it with steamed rice, make it little extra hot to go with the neutral flavour of rice.
This is absolutely vegan recipe but you can always add some sliced chicken to it.

Tofu stir fried is simple, can be prepared in jiffy if you have some good South Asian condiments in your pantry and you will also need a large handful of Thai basil, which you can replace with the Italian sweet basil too, the flavour of basil makes it more enticing. Dig in it with your chopsticks ! yummm…its hot !

Have a lovely week ahead