Shrimp and Tofu with Vegetables


Saute shrimp and tofu with matchstick vegetables, then add just enough sauce to coat for a delicious, but simple, dinner.

The recipe actually started with the vegetables…

I found, and bought, a lovely big bag of fresh green beans. Big being the operative word…  After all, we don’t want green beans every night, and we certainly don’t want plain steamed green beans every night… so I needed to find other ways to cook them.  I have carrots, so I thought about sauteing beans and carrots together – the color is so bright and pretty!

Then I bought tofu (at the request of the parents – they do enjoy it.) But while they don’t eat as much as we do, one package of tofu is still definitely not enough for four people… but there was shrimp in the freezer. Good combination, but how – oh, I’ll combine them with the carrots and beans! And so I did.

Saute shrimp and tofu with matchstick vegetables, then add just enough sauce to coat for a delicious, but simple, dinner.

But certainly not plain. There was fresh ginger, and chili paste. A vaguely Asian inspired treatment sounded good. I didn’t want to make a sauce, as such, because we’d eaten a few meals with sauce in a row, but I did want the seasoning to cling to the food…  oh, look, they do have cornstarch! It’s a challenge cooking in a kitchen where I’m still learning what staples are on hand! I don’t want to buy duplicates, after all. I’m also, of course, still learning what they like, though I have some idea from when they lived in New York. Fortunately they have always enjoyed trying new foods!

I’m still here in the stage of learning about my sources. So far I’ve concentrated on the obvious – the local supermarket, Costco, other large companies… I’ve been to the Farmer’s Market, though. (Not much produce when I was there on a Monday in January, but a building with small local vendors with other products. Looks like both produce and seafood, at least, available on weekends, even in January – I’m discovering how to find the vendors!)

I have also been told that Raleigh (and the Triangle in general) has a wonderful assortment of ethnic stores – once I know where to look, I’ll have no trouble finding Indian spices, Middle Eastern beans, Mexican chilies, and so on! (Though if anyone can tell me where to find Italian cookies locally, which the parents love and miss, I will be in your debt!)


To begin with, slice the tofu in four pieces, and wrap in a towel to drain.  Then scrub or peel your carrots and cut into sticks about an inch and a half long. Wash and trim your beans and snap them to the same length, and measure two cups. Cut about an inch long piece of fresh ginger, peel it, and shred it. Now take your tofu, and cut it into bite sized pieces. And while you  are in prep mode, mix one teaspoon of cornstarch into one tablespoon of water in a small bowl, and set aside.

Carrots, greeen beans and ginger cut for the recipe.

Heat a pan, then add oil and swirl it around. Add chili paste and the ginger, and stir them into the oil. Then add the tofu, stir to coat with seasoning, and let cook a few minutes to brown slightly. Add a tablespoon of tamari, stir again, and add the carrots. Saute a minute or two, then add the beans and a quarter cup of water. Cover and cook two to three minutes.

Tofu and Vegetables in pan, before adding shrimp

Now the shrimp. I had raw, peeled shrimp flash frozen with a coating of ice to keep it fresh. I used a cup of that, which worked for us and would for you if you are serving two adults and two young children… I would add more (or serve another dish with some protein ingredient) for four more adults or teens. I added the shrimp to the pan, stirred, covered – and checked and stirred every minute or two until the shrimp was cooked and opaque. (Which took a little longer than I had expected because the ice was thicker than I’d realized – but you need to keep an eye on it so you don’t overcook the shrimp.)  As soon as the shrimp is barely cooked, stir in the cornstarch slurry, stir it around and cook a moment to thicken any liquid in the pan and coat the food. Then serve at once.

The food was moist and flavorful, rather than seeming to have a sauce. The seasoning was subtle but present – you may, of course, increase or decrease to the tastes of your own family.  The parents definitely enjoyed it, as did we. As I hope you do!

Saute shrimp and tofu with matchstick vegetables, then add just enough sauce to coat for a delicious, but simple, dinner.


Saute shrimp and tofu with matchstick vegetables, then add just enough sauce to coat for a delicious, but simple, dinner.

Shrimp and Tofu with Vegetables

Anne Murphy
Saute shrimp and tofu with matchstick vegetables, then add just enough sauce to coat for a delicious, but simple, dinner.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main dish
Cuisine American, Gluten Free
Servings 3 -4 servings


  • 1 container firm tofu
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 c trimmed and snapped green beans
  • 1 " fresh ginger root
  • 1 t cornstarch
  • 1 T water
  • oil for pan
  • 1 t chili paste
  • 1 T tamari
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1-2 c raw shrimp Frozen is fine


  • Slice tofu and wrap in a towel to drain
  • Cut carrots in matchsticks, snap beans to roughly same length. Peel ginger and cut into shreds. Cut tofu into bite sized pieces.
  • Mix cornstarch into water in a small bowl, reserve.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add chili paste and ginger, stir. Add tofu, stir to coat with seasoning, and let cook a few minutes to brown slightly.
  • Add tamari and carrots, stir. Saute a minute or two. Add beans, stir, add water and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add frozen shrimp. Stir well. Cover and cook, checking every minute or two, until the shrimp is opaque and done. (Time will vary.)
  • As soon as shrimp is just cooked, add cornstarch slurry, stir well, let cook a minute until it is clear.
  • Serve at once.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!










24 thoughts on “Shrimp and Tofu with Vegetables”

    • Try the technique of wrapping it in a towel (clean dishcloth, paper towel…) Some people find they prefer the texture with a little of the water removed – it may work for you.

      And you can always either reverse proportions – or just use shrimp! If you try any version, I hope you enjoy it!

    • Yes – Rich and I are used to finishing it ourselves. Two packages would be too much, now, though… The shrimp was just what I needed! And I want people to see how I do this – since so often we need to make dinner with what we have on hand.

  • This dish is so pretty with the green and orange from the beans and carrots. I love how you created this recipe from what you had and built it layer by layer. That’s very creative, and it sounds delicious.

    • I loved the way they looked together! And thank you! I want people to see how to do this, so they feel confident doing it themselves.

    • It’s funny – I haven’t cooked with shrimp much at all. (And I’m not sure I’ve ever written it up!) The parents like it, though, so it will be on the radar more strongly… Thank you, and enjoy it!

    • Thanks!

      This isn’t particularly crispy – to get that texture (if you will then add sauce) you need to flour the tofu. It is firm, though.

  • We love tofu at our house, and have often paired it with fresh veggies and shrimp! I love your thought process of creating a meal from what you had on hand… That is a great skill, and one I’m always trying to impress upon my readers too 🙂

    • Thank you! It is a great combination, isn’t it?

      Inhabited Kitchen is about everyday cooking… I don’t believe you need to settle for boring just because it’s a Tuesday and you need dinner on the table in half an hour. And I think the most effective way to demonstrate that is to – well, demonstrate it.

      Sure, I hope you’ll enjoy my recipes. But I want people to be able to make their own, with what they have on hand themselves. (No shrimp? Use that leftover chicken!)

    • Thanks! LOL – it’s one of those ingredients I sometimes seem to forget about, then wonder why I let it go so long. I’m delighted that the parents enjoy it – gives me more options!

  • I really enjoyed reading this. You cook the way I do! I have trouble sourcing ingredients where I am and just ‘make do’. But seriously, that is what home cooks have been doing for hundreds of years so hats off to you! Looks great:)

    • It’s what good cooks have always done.

      And honestly – it’s what American Cooking, particularly, is all about – so many people from so many cultures who couldn’t get what they were used to, but brought their techniques to the food available…

      I’m glad you liked it!

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