Buddha bowls with ginger-garlic-soy sauce

Buddha bowl (unsauced)

Kristin at Beans & Greens blogged recently about Buddha bowls, and they looked so deelish that I simply HAD to try them myself.

Buddha bowls are like a deconstructed stir-fry… instead of mixing the veggies, tofu and sauce together like you would in a stir-fry, you prepare them separately, then arrange everything artfully together in a big bowl (my bowl is not that artful, I admit).

I was so into this idea that I bought bowls especially to use for this dish (but I can find lots of other uses for the bowls, honest… otherwise it wouldn’t be very thrifty of me, now would it?)

I was too lazy to make Kristin’s yummy-looking red coconut curry sauce and instead whipped up a simple ginger-garlic-soy sauce.

Buddha bowl (sauced)

In case you’re wondering what those strange-looking things are to the left of the tofu in the photos, they’re something called vegetarian fuchou balls, which were in the freezer begging to be used. They are really nice and have a very interesting texture. (Hard to describe… firm but not in the same way seitan is… a bit springy but not rubbery. Yes I realise that description sucks.) I decided to use them at the last minute, and have not included them in the recipe below.

Buddha bowls are open to variations galore. Seitan or other faux meat could be used instead of tofu. Lots of different veggies would work well. And of course, the sauce could be coconut curry, black pepper, sweet and sour, peanut, black bean, etc. etc. You get the idea.

I served this with brown basmati rice, but eggless chow-mein noodles, rice noodles or udon noodles would be good as well, as would the completely un-Chinese option of steamed quinoa.

Buddha bowls with ginger-garlic-soy sauce

British American
250g tofu 9 ounces
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons groundnut (peanut) oil, divided 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons
450g assorted vegetables 1 pound
salt to taste
For the sauce
1 teaspoon groundnut (peanut) oil 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 1 tablespoon
1/2 vegetarian chicken-style bouillon cube 1/2
300ml water 1-1/4 cups
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 to 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon Chinese sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon
1-1/2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) 1-1/2 tablespoons
To serve
cooked rice, noodles or quinoa

1. Cut tofu into 2.5cm (1″) cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet (I use cast-iron) over medium heat. Saute tofu cubes until golden on all sides. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

2. Cut veggies into more-or-less uniform pieces. In a large wok (I use cast-iron), heat two teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the oil, then stir-fry veggies until crisp-tender. Periodically, add a tablespoon of water to create steam and help soften the veggies.

3. Meanwhile, make sauce. In a small saucepan, heat one teaspoon oil over low heat. Gently fry ginger and garlic until fragrant but not browned (about one minute). Add bouillon cube and mash to break it up. Reserve two tablespoons of water and pour the rest into the saucepan. Add soy sauce and sesame oil, and bring sauce to a simmer. Mix reserved water with cornflour (cornstarch), then add to simmering sauce and cook until thickened. Keep warm.

4. When everything is cooked, put rice (or noodles or quinoa) into bottom of two large bowls. Top with veggies and tofu, then with sauce.

Makes two servings.


  1. Awesome. Now I won’t have to figure out how to fix my ginger soy sauce. I’ll just try yours next time!

  2. The sauce is kinda salty, so start with one tablespoon of soy sauce and add the second if you want. 🙂

  3. That looks so fresh and wonderful!

  4. My daughter (wei-k.livejournal.com) has always told us that in China they don’t mix it all together, so your dish looks authentic. And delicious! Isn’t it funny how the right bowl can make all the difference? Thanks for the sauce recipe 🙂

  5. Oh that looks so scrummy. Bursting with goodness.

  6. Yum! the bowl looks awesome. I love this type of meal. after you finish all of it you wonder where it went (because you ate it all so quickly).

    I’m awarding you the proximity award because I really love your blog and I think you’re awesome.

  7. I saw Thrifty Living on Becks site and of course I had to visit your page.

    Then first thing I see is yummilicious Buddha bowls that has all the things I love…

    You’ve got yourself a new reader buddy!

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