Monday, February 2, 2009

Recipe: Chinese-style Kale with Tofu

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Simmer Down!, one of our Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. Check out her other great recipes. :-)

Chinese-style Kale with Tofu


  • 1 large bunch kale (I used 10 ounces of my frozen kale, feel free to substitute any other brassica greens like collard or turnip greens)
  • 1/2# extra-firm tofu (drain and cut into 1-inch size cubes)
  • 1-2 roasted red peppers (from a jar or frozen) - cut into slices/pieces
  • 1-2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard powder, or more to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried red chili flakes (1 teaspoon is very spicy!) or chili sauce from a jar (the kind with seeds)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce (I always look for the low-sodium variety)
  • 1/4 tsp. toasted (dark) sesame oil (just do a couple of shakes, rather than actually measuring this - no need to waste any coating the measuring spoon!)
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. rice wine or Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine


  1. Thaw and drain the frozen kale (I do this in a colander over a bowl to catch any thawed liquid to save for future stock), or remove the large stems from the fresh kale and chop into strips about 1-1/2″ wide; wash and set aside in a colander to drain (save that liquid for future stock also).
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (such as a dutch oven or a wok), heat about 2 Tbsp of oil (add more if it doesn’t cover the bottom of the pan) and 1/4 tsp (a few dashes) sesame oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the minced garlic and cook GENTLY until the garlic is browned, turning the heat down as necessary so it doesn’t burn. If you are using the dried chili flakes, add them to the oil and cook them for about 30 seconds to bloom the flavor. Add the mustard powder and stir out any lumps.
  4. Add the tofu cubes, cook until starting to brown a little on the edges.
  5. Add the roasted peppers pieces and the kale to the pot and stir to coat with the seasonings. It’s ok if the kale is a little wet; the moisture will help it steam and cook down. The kale probably won’t fit all at once if using fresh kale, so cook it for a few minutes until it cooks down and then add the remainder. You can cover the kale to assist the steaming process; just make sure to stir it often enough so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  6. When the kale is tender but still green, add 1 tbs soy sauce and the chili sauce, if using. Stir and taste for seasoning, adding the remainder of the soy sauce per taste if desired. You may also want to add a dash or two more sesame oil, chilis, or more mustard powder to taste. Optional - add a small splash of rice wine or Shaoxing as well, increasing the heat for a moment to cook off the alcohol. (I did not add this)
Serve over brown rice for a complete meal, however, we might also have some fruit such as our homemade applesauce, either plain or our "fire-in-the-belly" style for a little more zing.
This recipe makes enough for 2 hearty eaters or 3 people if you are serving other items with it. Enjoy your kale and along with the health benefits from the mustard, another Brassica veggie! This dish certainly fits with my sign-off. :-)

Where kale (and other Brassicas) are more than decoration on my plate!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Anonymous said...

Did you freeze your own kale? If so, any special processing prior to freezing?
Thanks for the interesting blog.

noƫlle {simmer down!} said...

Hi Diana,

I like the addition of tofu to make it more of a meal! I will have to try that next time I make it.


RP said...

Dear Diana

This week, as I searched the web for a recipe combining kale and tofu, that I saw originally through the site, I came across your recipe.

Today I tried it, loving the reason for going to the Chinese supermarket to buy the mustard seed and soy sauce.

The meal (combining it with brown rice, as you suggested) turned out to be a welcome alternative to the kale-potato-mash which is basically a Dutch tradional, and the only alternative I knew for kale.

So - I loved it. Thanks for the posting!

Rakingsima, The Hague, Netherlands

Diana Dyer said...

Thanks for stopping by my kale blog from overseas! Yes, this recipe is delicious. I hope you'll come back and make some of the many other recipes from my blog, too!

Cyndi said...

What a lovely site! I can't wait to try this recipe. I think I will serve it over quinoa.

Anonymous said...

As a hunter ans fisherman I am always looking for new ideas. I only eat wild fowl and fish. (no I do NOT trophy hunt)I have tried this with small amounts of leftover pheasant, duck, and have also tried adding a batch of wild mountain river mussles at the end of cooking that I steamed for 5 minutes. All great results for very healthy eating. I can't wait til I harvest a wild salmon to play around with this using other sauces. I am thinking about changing it up with sweet chili sauce instead of the pad thai chili for fish and see what I get. THANKS!


Memo said...

Thanks for this yummy food idea. I made this last night for dinner, I added leaks and celery to the mix and it was amazing. I served it over black quinoa and it was beautiful. Thanks a bunch.