Five-Spice Asian Stir Fry

This recipe is gluten free & vegan.

Sometimes I go a little bit crazy at the farmer's markets on Saturdays...

Every week I'm inundated with an enormous amount of fruit and vegetables which even I can't finish.

This is my 'throw every vegetable from the fridge into a pan' recipe. For this reason, feel free to sub-in any veggies that you have on hand, as most will work in this dish. 

This is my favourite version of a recipe that I have iterated at least a thousand times.

Asian stir-fries were a staple of mine growing up. Being gluten intolerant, any rice-based dish was perfect for my mum and I to cook.

This stir fry is an inspired childhood favourite that has been a little bit altered by what I have learned throughout adulthood.

Where I might have originally used normal supermarket mushrooms (field or portobello here in Australia), I have used the less common (but incredible) Japanese shiitake. This recipe is also vegan, replacing the meat with five-spice, crispy tofu. Most of my meat eating friends have said that this combination of chewy shiitakes and crispy tofu more than makes up for this meal being vegan. Now that means a lot coming from carnivores!

This meal - like all of my recipes - is vegan, gluten-free and incredibly healthy. Realistically, this is a huge veggie fry up, with a twist of 5-spice and a combination of my favourite Asian sauces!

Serve this on rice, your favourite type of noodles (I used rice noodles) or even pasta if you are feeling rebellious.

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 packet your favourite rice noodles (thick or thin will work)

  • 500g block medium or firm tofu, excess water dried using paper towels and cubed to 2cm

  • 1/2 cup rice flour

  • 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice ** (see notes for alternatives)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 brown onion, cut into large pieces

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1/2 small head red cabbage, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup green beans, topped, tailed and halved

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

  • 3 tbsp tamari

  • 2 tsp tamarind paste

  • 5cm fresh ginger, finely grated

  • 2 bunches bok choy, separated into leaves

  • Sesame seeds to serve (I love black sesames but regular white sesames will work too)


To make:

  1. Place shiitakes in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to rehydrate while you prepare the other ingredients

  2. Cook rice noodles according to packet directions and set aside

  3. In a large, shallow bowl combine rice flour, five spice and salt

  4. Add handfuls of cubed tofu to the bowl and roll around to coat in the flour mixture

  5. Continue adding batches of tofu until all cubes are well coated

  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok or large pan over medium to high heat then carefully add the tofu cubes

  7. Stir fry the tofu quickly, moving around the wok constantly until the edges are golden and crispy. Remove tofu from the pan and cover to keep warm

  8. Return the wok to the stove and heat the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes

  9. Add cabbage, beans, drained shiitakes, garlic, tamari and tamarind and stir fry for around 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just softening

  10. Turn off the heat and stir through bok choy and grated ginger. Allow remaining heat to steam the bok choy for a few minutes

  11. Serve stir fry with rice noodles, a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds, lime wedges and fresh chilli if you like a kick! Enjoy.



  • Chinese 5-spice is a combination of ground cinnamon, star anise, cloves and fennel. Make your own using a mix of these spices if you prefer/can’t find it at your local store.

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Tamika WoodsComment