I never thought I’d get excited about tofu for dinner. But things have changed. Three simple steps bring it from “good for you” to actually delicious:
- press it
- marinate it
- bake, grill, or pan fry it
The pressing gets rid of excess water, a marinade infuses flavor, and the bake, grill, or pan fry heats it up and can give you some crispiness. If you have access to the excellent products from Hodo Soy, all the better.
Two resources changed my attitude about tofu: The Co-Op deli, and their grill-marked “sweet chili tofu” (marinade: Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce), and Thug Kitchen-–yes, an unlikely cookbook for me, fan of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and other classicists, but it jumped off the library shelf at me. Steel yourself for some colorful language and get ready to laugh. Good, simple technique and great recipes too.
Baked Tofu with Orange Sesame Marinade
- 14 ounces firm tofu drained
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos or tamari)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or fresh lemon or lime juice)
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons sriracha or gochujang
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Press the tofu: slice block into slabs, somewhere around 1/4-inch so you get 6 - 8 slabs. Lay out a double-thick layer of paper towels on a rimmed sheet pan (or use clean, flour-sack kitchen towels), arrange the tofu slabs in a single layer, then cover with another layer of double-thick paper towels and another sheet pan on top. Stack a few heavy-ish things on top to press the tofu--boxes of broth, a couple big cookbooks, whatever you've got around. Let sit for 20 - 30 minutes.
Mix together the marinade in a glass measuring cup.
Uncover the pressed tofu and optionally slice on the diagonal into triangles or lengthwise into sticks. Place in a glass or ceramic dish in a single layer and pour over the marinade. Let sit at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes, if you've got the time, 2 - 8 hours. Flip the tofu pieces half-way through time. Refrigerate if you wish, I usually just leave it out at room temperature, covered.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Transfer tofu pieces to the sheet pan, single layer, spoon a little marinade on top of each piece (save the rest, you're going to use it!), and bake for 15 minutes. Flip each piece, spoon over more marinade and bake an additional 10 minutes. Flip again, spoon marinade, and bake an additional 5 minutes. (Or pan fry in 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil. Or grill over high heat -- oil the grill first.) Enjoy!