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A Tofu Recipe for People Who Hate Tofu
I've never been a big fan of tofu, but when I became a vegetarian, I decided to experiment with different ways to prepare it so that I could incorporate this valuable protein into my diet. After trying a variety of recipes and preparation methods, I finally found a way to cook tofu that I look forward to eating. Even my non-vegetarian parents enjoyed eating it at a recent family gathering - so much so that my mother asked for the recipe!
If you've been avoiding tofu because you don't like it's squishy consistency, give this customizable recipe a chance - you won't be disappointed!
- 1 package (12 or 14 oz) firm or extra firm tofu
- 4 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 3 tsp thick hot sauce or marinade of your choice (sriracha, ketchup, barbecue sauce)
- 3 tsp vinegar of your choice (rice wine, white, apple cider)
- 1 1/2 tsp liquid sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey, agave)
- 1 tsp oil of your choice (toasted sesame, canola, olive)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise, (optional)
- Drain the water from your tofu package and cut the tofu block cross-wise into eight (8) slices of approximately even width.
- Arrange several layers of paper towels or a clean dish towel on your counter and lay down your tofu slices, leaving some space between them. Cover the tofu slices with another dish towel or more layers of paper towels.
- Lay a baking sheet on top of the tofu and put something heavy on it to help press the remaining water out of the tofu slices. I like to use a large pot filled with water, but you can use anything heavy like books, hand weights - whatever you have available.
- Leave the tofu to drain further for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer your tofu drains, the chewier and less squishy it will be as a final product. If desired, you can swap out the towels for dry versions halfway through the process to absorb even more water.
- Mix together your soy sauce, hot sauce or marinade, vinegar, oil and sweetener with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and whisk until well incorporated.
- Heat a non-stick pot over medium-high heat. Don't add any oil to the pot - it should be dry - otherwise the tofu will stick.
- Cut each tofu slice lengthwise into thirds and then cut cross-wise into cubes. Toss the cubes into the pot and cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tofu is a nice golden color and most of the water has cooked out.
- Pour in the liquid mixture and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed into the tofu.
- Remove the tofu from the heat and transfer to a small serving bowl. Stir in the sliced green onions and mayonnaise (optional). Serve with rice of your choice as a main dish or alone as a side dish paired with salad.
Personally I like to eat this dish hot over rice, but it's just as tasty eaten it at room temperature or even cold. I like making it spicy with sriracha and then pairing it with sweet coconut rice for a flavor contrast (see photo). You can also add it to a green salad or even incorporate it into an egg salad recipe for extra tang and chewiness. There are a lot of possibilities here!
If you use a spicy hot sauce like sriracha, you might like the added mayonnaise because it tempers the heat of the dish. However, if you're using ketchup, barbecue sauce or a non-spicy marinade, you can skip the mayonnaise unless you like the texture it adds.
This recipe is meant to be adaptable to your specific tastes, which is why the ingredients are so flexible. I recommend choosing your hot sauce or marinade first and letting that dictate the choices you make for the other ingredients. For example, if you decide to use sriracha (which has an Asian taste profile), use rice wine vinegar, maple syrup and sesame oil. If you start with barbecue sauce, use apple cider vinegar, honey and canola oil. The combinations are endless, so feel free to experiment!