Friday, May 20, 2011
Tofu for Dummies and Hungry People
I apologise for using the word dummy - but this tofu really could not be easier to prepare, and I've been dying to share this oh-so-simple recipe for ages. It's a keeper.
If you're new to tofu, then I know what you're thinking:
- Ugh! Its texture is weird!
- What is this mushy stuff?
- I miss chicken.
- This smells funny.
- What does it taste like?
- How on earth do I cook this lump of jelly-like white wobbly thingymajig?
It's OK. I've been there before, staring at the wet block of tofu and not having a notion of what to do with it. A lot of recipes require pressing, marinating, all sorts of malarkey.
And really, I'm more than happy to do that. But when I just want some crispy tofu, some filling protein to round out a meal, or something to nibble on, I go for this. And it has never failed me. It's practically foolproof, I promise.
I have baked tofu in a marinade before, but this recipe, which is adapted from the Gluten-Free Girl blog (one of my favourite blogs) is a whole other kettle of tofu-flavoured-fish.
This tofu is roasted.
What does this mean? It's roasted at a higher heat than if it was baked, which in turn means a crispier tofu, and no marinade - and no gooiness. (You don't need to press this tofu.)
Instead, you get crispy, browned tofu on the outside, and puffy, soft chewy tofu inside.
Here's the original recipe and here's what I do:
One block of firm tofu (not silken tofu)
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 220C
Pull out a large roasting tin or baking tray and line with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
Take your tofu and cut into cubes about 1inch in size. As you can see, I'm pretty terrible at cutting tofu into uniform pieces...hey, I'll just chalk it down to being 'creative'. Ahem.
Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your liking. You could even try some herbs and spices here if you like. I haven't tried this myself but doubt it would be a problem.
If using oil - spray your oil onto the tofu, if you have an oil spray bottle. Ensure all sides are coated.
If you don't have a spray bottle (I don't), then gently put the tofu into a large bowl, add the oil and very, very carefully toss with clean hands to ensure the tofu is coated.
You can do this without oil - the tofu is slightly less crispy but delicious just the same!
Place the tofu onto the baking tray/oven tray, slide into the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
Take out, flip the tofu over and roast until the tofu is puffed up, lightly browned and crispy.
Try not to burn your mouth while sampling the first piece: I speak from experience here!
You can serve this with a dipping sauce, as per the Gluten-Free Girl recipe, or you can do what I did - serve with stir-fried vegetables, rice and a coconut-almond-curry sauce.
This sauce is an adaptation of my almond butter sauce and was made on the fly - I just mixed about 1/4 cup coconut milk with 1 tablespoon almond butter, a little tamari, a few teaspoons of curry powder and a dash of toasted sesame oil. Then I heated this on the stove until it was thick and creamy. Delish!
So, if you're a tofu newbie, or just someone hungry for a new way to eat tofu, try this. And I dare you not to eat the entire lot....