Green Beans and Crispy Tofu with Garlic Sauce


February 11, 2015

Author: KatieChin

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This recipe is a hands down fave from my award-winning cookbook, “Everyday Thai Cooking.”    It’s a sublimely spicy dish that has an awesome texture from the tofu which has been tossed in a flour cornstarch mixture and then flash fried.  This gives it a crispy crunch which pairs sublimely with tender green beans in a spicy-garlicky sauce.  The hint of sweetness from the brown sugar marries so well with the heat from the Asian-garlic sauce and then there’s the Thai basil, oh, I could go on and on.   I can’t tell you how many friends emailed me after they made this to say it was one of the best tofu dishes they had ever eaten!   Try this on for meatless Mondays.  I like to buy premium oyster sauce in the gourmet section of World Market.  If you’re making this for kids, omit the chili-garlic sauce or just use a scant amount.


½ lb (250 g) yard-long beans or green beans, cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

8 oz (250 g) firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into cubes

Oil for frying

1 clove garlic, minced

½ small white onion, cut into small chunks

½ teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce, preferably Sambal Oelek

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon palm sugar or brown sugar

¾ cup (15 g) fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves


  • Cook the beans in boiling water until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath until cool. Drain. Set aside.
  • Combine the flour, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Toss the tofu pieces in the flour mixture. In a large wok or deep skillet, heat 2 to 3 inches (5 cm – 7.5 cm) of the oil to 350°F (175°C). Fry tofu for 4 minutes. Flip over tofu and fry for another 4 minutes until golden brown all over. Drain on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Set aside.
  • Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the wok or skillet. Heat the oil to moderately high heat. Add the garlic and onion and stir-fry until fragrant and onion is translucent, about 1 minute. Add the reserved tofu and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the reserved green beans, chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and palm sugar and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the basil and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until basil is wilted. Dish out and serve immediately with jasmine rice.