Garlic Scapes And Spiced Dry Tofu Stir Fry

My favorite way to prepare garlic scapes is to stir fry them.

And, as far as I am concerned, their perfect partner in the wok is spiced dry tofu.

Here’s why: the scapes have the same wonderful crisp but tender texture that very young green beans have, and are blessed with a similar verdant grassy flavor scented strongly with the divine aroma of garlic. This texture contrasts with the smooth and chewy texture of the tofu, with the added benefit that both foodstuffs easily pick up the flavors of whatever aromatics and condiments the cook adds to the hot wok.

It is just too delicious–and–the dark green of the scapes deepens and brightens in the wok to a brilliant emerald which looks lovely with the pale tan and dark brown tofu.

This time around, I added to the wok an early head of broccoli, small and very sweet, as well as two frozen red jalapeno chilies, which added further texture and flavor contrast. (Not to mention extra vitamins and minerals!) I also had a small piece of pork loin left over in the fridge which I added, but the truth is, I prefer this recipe vegan, and that is how I am writing it.

This is an easy, simple supper for about three adults and one baby.

You could add fresh or dried, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, or carrots, or sweet bell peppers to this recipe as well, but I think I would have been happy just adding more garlic scapes. (I didn’t have any more, or they would have gone into the wok–I promise!)

This recipe could also be simplified by leaving out the cilantro, the broccoli, and adding more garlic scapes. You could also use green beans instead of garlic scapes, but if you do that, add more minced or sliced garlic to the recipe to make up for the loss in garlic fragrance.

Stir Fried Garlic Scapes and Spiced Dry Tofu

4 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1/2 cup scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
1″ square piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut julienne
1-2 red jalapeno chilies, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
8 ounces spiced dry tofu, thinly sliced on the diagonal
8 ounces broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
5 ounces garlic scapes, bubils and “whiskers” trimmed off and discarded, stalks cut into 2 inch long pieces
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine
1/4 teaspoon raw sugar
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons vegetable broth with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in it
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


Heat wok over high heat until a thin ribbon of smoke dances up from the surface. Add peanut or canola oil and allow to heat until it shimmers–about thirty seconds. Add scallions, black beans and ginger and stir fry for about thirty seconds. Add chilies, garlic and tofu, and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Add broccoli, and cook, stirring continually, until the broccoli browns lightly on the edges.

Add the garlic scapes, and stir fry about thirty seconds. Add the wine and sugar, and cook off the alcohol–about thirty seconds, then add the soy sauce, chicken broth and sesame oil, stirring for about thirty seconds more, or at least until the sauce thickens and clings to the vegetables and tofu.

Serve with steamed jasmine rice.


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  1. Mmm. Considering that I *just* came home with scapes from the farmers market, this is perfect timing.

    Comment by Liss — June 5, 2008 #

  2. Yum! No scapes here, but there are green beans, so I think I’ll substitute.

    Comment by Hadar — June 5, 2008 #

  3. Small nitpick: It’s a substitution every vegan knows how to make, but a recipe that calls for chicken broth is not actually vegan as written.

    Sounds delicious, though, and scapes are all over the farmers’ markets around here.

    Comment by Johanna — June 8, 2008 #

  4. Thank you for pointing out the typo, Johanna. I was thinking vegetable and typed chicken–I know quite well that chicken broth isn’t vegan!

    I edited the mistake–once again, thanks for pointing it out.

    Comment by Barbara — June 9, 2008 #

  5. We just got scapes in our CSA bag this evening, so I’ll likely try a variation of this tomorrow using ground bean sauce instead of the fermented beans (since I don’t have any) and buffalo instead of tofu (since I have some in the freezer and my 7yo likes it). I even have fresh garlic that I just harvested from my garden, so I’m doubly excited for a recipe that highlights both the scapes and the broccoli!

    Comment by De in D.C. — June 11, 2008 #

  6. Yum. Never heard of scaped before reading about them here, found some at my farmers market. I got a big load of them for two bucks.

    Yowsa, that’s intense garlic flavor. Love it. Thanks for introducing me to this vgetable.

    Comment by sgt pepper — June 15, 2008 #

  7. Hey, I don’t own a wok…and am poor as heck….is it possible to do this in a massive deep pan and achieve decent results?

    Comment by Sugar — July 12, 2008 #

  8. This looks like it’ll be a great stir fry! And Sugar, I do stir fries in a deep pan instead of a wok all the time.

    Comment by Dee — August 4, 2008 #

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