Tofu and Canned Young Corn Stir-Fry

Do you have some unused young corn left from a dish you’ve just cooked and wondering what else to do with it?

If you don’t want it to go to waste and you’re looking for other ways to jazz it up, then check out this Tofu and Young Corn Stir-Fry, which do well either as a side dish or as a main.

Young corn (canned) and tofu are bland as we know, so we need a little something to make these appetizing and tasty.

The key is in the stir fry sauce. It calls for a combination of oyster sauce, soy sauce or fish sauce, and kecap manis. These sauces will lend a slightly sweet, salty, savoury, and deeper flavour to the food.

Oyster Sauce and Kecap Manis — What’s The Difference?

I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a home where soy sauce and fish sauce were used a lot in cooking but not oyster sauce and kecap manis.

It is often said that oyster sauce tastes like soy sauce and barbecue sauce combined – it’s both salty and sweet and something more.

“Oyster sauce is, as advertised, made from oysters. It’s a mixture of caramelized oyster juices (a byproduct of cooking oysters in water for a prolonged period), salt, sugar, and sometimes soy sauce that is thickened with cornstarch.”

“The sweetness isn’t one-noted; it’s dark and developed, like caramel. The saltiness is less like table salt and more like briny ocean water. And those oysters lend tons of umami and rich savoriness to the sauce.”

Kecap manis, on the other, is a sweet soy sauce widely used in Indonesian cooking. The term manis means “sweet” in Indonesia/Malay. To wit,

“It’s a sweet soy sauce native to Indonesia made with fermented soy beans and flavored with palm sugar, star anise, galangal and other aromatics.”

…” Kecap manis derives its name from the same Malay fish sauce (kicap) that our tomato-based ketchup is distantly related to.”

There, if you’re wondering how these sauces will work out in this easy stir-fry dish.

Looking For Substitutes?

If you want to try this recipe and don’t have oyster sauce or kecap manis at hand, then your options according to food experts are:

Oyster sauce – mix soy sauce and hoisin sauce at a 1:1 ratio.

Kecap manis – sub with soy sauce and brown sugar.

I have not tried any of the subs yet, but I think it will work. The intensity of the flavour might not be the same but it will get you by.

Want to make it more interesting?  Sprinkle some chilli flakes for a bit of heat or toasted garlic for crunch and  added flavour.

How To Make Tofu & Young Corn Stir-Fry

Tofu & Canned Young Corn Stir-Fry

How to jazz up young corn pieces by adding tofu and sauces to make an appetizing side dish or main.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 3 tbsp cooking oil, divided (canola or vegetable)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 300 grams hard/firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 10 pcs young corn (canned), cut into bite size
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp Kecap manis
  • soy sauce or fish sauce to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • toasted garlic
  • chilli flakes


  • Remove excess water out of the tofu by placing 2-3 paper towels under and over it. Gently press it down with your palm or put a canned good to squeeze out the extra water. Leave it for a few minutes.
    Then cut it into cubes.
  • Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat and add 2 tbsp oil. Once oil is hot, fry the tofu cubes until lightly golden. Remove and set aside.
  • Add 1 tbsp oil and stir-fry the garlic and onion for 1 min.
  • Put the fried tofu back in the pan. Add the young corn. Stir in the oyster sauce, kecap manis, and soy sauce. Add some freshly ground black pepper and stir.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer and slightly thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Serve hot with a sprinkle of chilli flakes or toasted garlic, if desired.