Fried Tofu with Basil and Chile

dsc_1607RECIPE #364, DAY #537


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Thai Tofu with Basil and Chiles,” from my own recipe collection, modified years ago from Judy Bastyra’s Thai: The Essence of Cooking*

TIMING: 15 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy if you use the pre-fried tofu, otherwise a little harder


COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: This is basically just tofu and rice. Low in fat, yes, but you want to check how often you eat white rice. You’re going to need a veggie to go alongside.

dsc_1608EXPERIENCE: This is an easy, weeknight approximation of Tofu Pad Kra Prao, one of our favorite Thai dinners. I find it addictive, and apparently so does my daughter. She kept returning to the fridge to sneak cold cubes of the tofu.

NOTES: The photos do not show the little bit of sauce, because I photographed it leftover. Sorry.


  1. If you do not have a package of fried, puffed tofu, cube a package of extra firm tofu. Place into a hot work over medium-high heat. Let tofu simmer until dried. Add 2-3 tablespoons peanut oil and stir-fry until tofu is evenly golden brown. Remove to a plate and salt immediately.
  2. Back in the wok, heat another 3 tablespoons peanut or coconut oil. Add 3 minced red Thai chilies and 4 cloves thin-sliced garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the golden or puffed tofu, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Stir fry for 4 minutes.
  3. Add 12 rough-chopped basil leaves and immediately remove to a platter.
  4. In the pan, heat another 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Add a handful of basil leaves and fry quickly.
  5. Serve tofu with steamed Jasmine rice, extra chilies, and a garnish of the fried basil.


Serve as described with the steamed Jasmine rice. Also, a Thai salad or veggie side.

LEFTOVER IDEAS: Could it possibly be left over? Honestly, the puffed tofu doesn’t reheat all that well.

*Recipe has been changed from the original.


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