Tofu Puffs with Chinese Kale (Gai-Lan) and Carrot

Guess what I’ve found from my local Harris Farm Market? Mini tofu puffs!!!

If you are puzzled with my excitement, please bear with me – Emily, the drama queen.  That’s what happen when you’re deprived from Asian groceries. Having lived in regional areas for some time, I find the supply of Asian ingredients has been intermittent. Unlike living in places with Chinatown, you don’t get everything in one place and all the time.

I may try to  find substitutions like cornflakes for panko breadcrumbs, but there are many things I  still can’t (or refuse to) make do. Tofu, for one. Anyway, I was so excited because of the small tofu puffs. You get the bigger ones occasionally but this is the first time I’ve seen the small ones.

If you haven’t had these before, “what’s so great about these”, you may wonder.

Regardless of their sizes, they are like edible sponges. Okay, maybe I’m not selling this right – sponges aren’t exactly appetising.

*Try again* When the tofu puffs are added in curries and stir fries, they can soak up all the flavours around them. Sounds good right? I love to put these in laksa and Thai red curry. You can’t believe how awesome they taste after being left floating (yep, they float) in laksa soup and curries! The moment you sink your teeth in the gravy-contained puffs, the gravy gushes out to your palate which provides an instant hit of flavours.

{p/s: Although there are 5 garlic cloves in the photo, I ended up using 3 which turned out to be plenty.}

While I’d love to make a curry dish or laksa for this, it’s best that I keep away from coconut milk for a couple days as you all know that I just had my carrot coconut curry yesterday.  So I’ve add them to my simple vegetarian stir fry instead.

Tofu Puffs with Chinese Kale and Carrot (served with cooked brown rice)

(A fuss free cooking recipe)

Serves 2 people

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


  • 250g (9 oz) Chinese Kale (aka Gai-lan or Chinese Broccoli) – about 3 stalks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 0.6 cm (1/4 inch) thick ginger
  • 1 carrot
  • 100g (4 oz) tofu puffs (or add any protein you like)
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce (or normal oyster sauce if you aren’t vegetarian)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 drops of sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp water
  • Some white pepper


  • Mix 1 tbsp of water with vegetarian oyster sauce,  soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

  • Wash, trim and cut the kale into pieces; slice a carrot into matchsticks (check out here to learn how); cut ginger into thin strips; Sliver the garlic about the same size as ginger.
  • Heat pan with 2 tbsps of oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add carrot, garlic and ginger and saute until the carrot is slightly tender.
  • Add tofu puffs and toss to coat with the ginger and garlic. Cook until they are VERY  lightly charred.
  • Add kale with 2 tbsps of water. Toss to mix with the carrot-tofu mixture.
  • When the kale has slightly change its color to bright green, turn the flame to low and add the sauce mixture. Toss the ingredients to bind with the sauce. It’s done when the sauce is heated.
  • Serve immediately with cooked brown rice.

15 Responses to Tofu Puffs with Chinese Kale (Gai-Lan) and Carrot
  1. meemsnyc
    February 9, 2011 | 7:58 am

    Yum, gai-lan and tofu puffs. My favorites. We are so lucky, we have an Asian market a block away!

    • Emily
      February 11, 2011 | 11:03 pm

      Oh, I’m envious!!!! That’s my dream location….

  2. Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron
    February 9, 2011 | 8:02 am

    I love tofu puffs too! yes they soak up the flavor awesomely! I don’t come across of them that often – how sad. You make a great stir-fry dish! I like gai lan. It seems to go well with the tofu.

    Oh, congrats on the top 9! I haven’t checked foodbuzz for a while. Today I signed in for the first time after 2 weeks and spotted your brownie!

    I also noticed a new header. love it Em!

    • Emily
      February 11, 2011 | 11:05 pm

      Thank you, thank you & thank you!

      I’m currently obssess with tofu puffs….love’em. Maybe it has something to do with they have been deep fried before hand…well, who cares! hehe!

  3. Roxan
    February 9, 2011 | 3:48 pm

    I also love tofu puffs! One of my friends doesn’t like them so whenever we go to eat, she passes hers over to me. What a nice friend ;]

    • Emily
      February 11, 2011 | 11:07 pm

      Yeah, it’s always lovely to have friends like, haha! I also play the role of tofu-to-go-person whenever I’m out dining with friends. Need to have more these frieds, don’t you reckon? ;)

  4. veggietestkitchen
    February 9, 2011 | 6:19 pm

    I LOVE tofu puffs!! I used to get them fresh at the Chinatown in SF. omg, you’re taking me back into time. but nowadays i live in a suburb with no china town and i don’t get these at all. i just bake my own tofu and infuse the flavor during the baking process. this dish looks fantastic. thanks for sharing it with us. cheers.

    • Emily
      February 11, 2011 | 11:09 pm

      You bake your own tofu? How awesome is that? I bet having no access to ready-made tofu doesn’t stop you, haha! I gotta check if you have posted the recipe on your site. :)

  5. Hyosun Ro
    February 10, 2011 | 1:42 am

    Simple, beautiful, flavorful, and healthy!

    • Emily
      February 11, 2011 | 11:10 pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Hyosun! :D

  6. melissa@the hungry artist
    February 10, 2011 | 1:49 am

    This looks so delicious. I have used these fried tofu pieces in soup before — never stir fry! I think my family would love it. so glad I saw your post!

    • Emily
      February 11, 2011 | 11:12 pm

      Thanks Melissa. I hope you would enjoy them in stir fry as much as in soup. :D

  7. Angela FRS
    February 13, 2011 | 12:17 am

    I have never seen these–I will look for them when I next visit H Mart. Wonder if you can get them online?

  8. cooking tofu
    February 20, 2011 | 7:12 pm

    This looks very interesting. I have never seen one of those tofu puffs. Where can I get those? And how are they made?
    Btw, the recipe looks fantastic

    • Emily
      February 21, 2011 | 9:15 am

      I think you can get them from Asian grocers – the fridge section. I’m not too sure how they made but only they have been deep fried. Thanks for your comment! :)

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