Baby Broccoli Stir-fry With Tofu and Spring Onions

Contributed by Martha Rose Shulman, the author of numerous vegetarian cookbooks and a food columnist for The New York Times. Her emphasis is always on fresh, seasonal produce, preferably organic and local, and she is passionate about making food that is both pleasurable and healthy. She graciously contributed this recipe to the Take Extinction Off Your Plate recipe collection.


Time: 7 to 8 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Stir-fries require a mise en place, with all of your prepared ingredients within reach of your wok. Read the recipe through twice before you begin, because once you’re at the wok you won’t have time to stop and check the instructions.




  • One 14-ounce box firm tofu, drained and cut in 1/4-inch thick, 2-inch by ¾-inch dominoes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot dissolved in 2 tablespoons vegetable stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons peanut, canola, rice bran, sunflower, or grape seed oil
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic (to taste)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons minced ginger (to taste)
  • 1 pound baby broccoli, flowers broken off, stems halved and sliced (1/2 to 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 bunch spring onions or 2 bunches scallions, white (or purple) and light green parts separated from dark green parts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro



Drain and dry the tofu slices on paper towels.

In a small bowl or measuring cup combine 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, and stock or water. Combine the salt and sugar in another small bowl. Have all the ingredients within arm’s length of your pan.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch steel skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two when added to the pan. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil by adding it to the sides of the pan and swirling the pan, then add the tofu and stir-fry until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, stir-fry until there is no liquid visible in the pan, and remove the tofu to a plate.

Swirl in the remaining oil, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for no more than 10 seconds. Add the baby broccoli and the white and light green parts of the onions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the salt, pepper, and sugar, toss together and add the soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Return the tofu to the wok along with the sesame seeds and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the cornstarch or arrowroot slurry, the cilantro and the onion greens, stir until the mixture is lightly glazed, and remove from the heat. Serve with hot grains (einkorn pictured below) or noodles.

Advance preparation: Stir-fries are last minute dishes as far as cooking goes but you can prepare all of your ingredients hours in advance. Keep in the refrigerator until 15 to 30 minutes before you cook.

Photo courtesy of Martha Rose Shulman.