Simple Shrimp Stir-Fry with Tofu and Leeks

Simple Shrimp Stir-Fry with Tofu and Leeks

I’m craving simplicity right now. Partly because the madness of the holiday season will soon be upon us. There’s no easy way to handle the stresses of even the simplest of holiday traditions. That’s because simplicity is complicated. Easy may be the simplest choice, but true simplicity is rarely easy. Does that make sense? However, this recipe for Shrimp Stir-Fry with Tofu and Leeks is a rare exception to the complicated rules about simplicity. This stir-fry comes together easily because its simplicity is the essence of its perfection. That’s not complicated, right?

Let me try it this way. Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” This sounds profound, but I think he was just sharing his cooking notes.

I’m trying to say this Shrimp Stir-Fry is easy because the best stir-fries are simple. The easiest mistake we cooks make is overcomplicating what’s intended to be simple. It’s easy to toss 12 ingredients into the wok without realizing 2 or 3 would be simply perfect.

Simple Shrimp and Tofu Stir-Fry

Shrimp Stir-Fry with Tofu and Leeks

In my house, the wok lives on top of the stove 24/7 because stir-fries are the essence of quick, stress-free meals that are easy to make. Here are my few simple rules:

The best simple stir-fries start with meat and/or vegetables cut into small pieces. Quick-cooking elements like delicate greens should be chopped larger than dense, slow-cooking items like chicken meat. It’s easy to understand why right?

Once you’ve mastered a thoughtful chop, turn your attention to deftly chosen simple sauces and seasonings. This Shrimp Stir-fry with Tofu and Leeks should taste like, well, shrimp, tofu and leeks. Not the sauce you’ve smothered it in.

Another reason to choose just a few, simple ingredients is to avoid overcrowding the wok. It’s easy to fill it so full that the ingredients steam themselves into a mushy pulp that’s none too easy to swallow.

In order to keep a simple stir-fry easy as possible get the wok as hot as possible – preheat it for at least 5 minutes before adding the oil. Don’t forget to open the windows and/or turn on the fan before you start. There should be an exhilarating amount of smoke. Getting the wok hot enough is the only difficult part of the process. Once you understand that, this simple Shrimp Stir-Fry with Tofu and Leeks is easy. Does that make sense? GREG

Simple Shrimp Stir-Fry with Tofu and LeeksSimple Shrimp Stir-Fry with Tofu and LeeksSimple Shrimp and Tofu Stir-Fry

Shrimp and Tofu Stir-Fry with Leeks 

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Shrimp and Tofu Stir-Fry with Leeks


  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoon corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ pound medium shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • ½ pound firm tofu (cut into ½‑inch dice)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 fresh leek (white and light green parts only, cut into thin matchsticks, rinsed and dried)


In a large bowl mix soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, sugar and salt; ix well. Add the shrimp and tofu, gently fold to coat evenly. Let stand about 10 minutes.

Place wok or large heavy skillet over high heat. Allow it to get very, very hot; about 5 minutes. Add oil, swirling to coat. 

Immediately pour the shrimp, tofu and any liquid into the hot wok. Quickly stir and toss until the shrimp begin to turn pink, about 1 ½ minutes. Add the broth and continue to stir until the sauce thickens slightly, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with leeks and serve immediately.