4.27.2009

Salt & Pepper Tofu



Ahh...tofu. The official icon of vegetarian eating. Leaving meat-eaters everywhere to run and hide at the mention of it. Which is really too bad. Sure tofu is basically tasteless when not seasoned properly, but umm, so isn't chicken. And that is actually a GOOD thing. Tofu's porous qualities make it great for marinading and for dishes where you really want the spices to stand out. Like this one. It is spicy, and when cooked to a golden brown, leaves a crunchy exterior with a softer inside. And really, what more could you ask for?



Salt & Pepper Tofu
adapted from Secrets of the Red Lantern . serves 2

1 package extra-firm tofu (12-16 oz), drained
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 T salt
1 t pepper

1 t sugar

1/2 t five-spice powder
2 T olive oil*
4
scallions, chopped



With a sharp knife, cut tofu, lengthwise into thirds. Place side-by-side on an absorbent towel and cover with an additional towel. Place a heavy pot on top of the towels (the heavier the better, as you are trying to extract as much water as possible from the tofu) and let sit 20-30 minutes. Cut tofu into 1" cubes.

In a large bowl, combine jalapeño, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, sugar and five-spice powder. Stir well and add tofu cubes. Toss until tofu cubes are well coated on all sides. In a large skillet, heat oil and add tofu (and spices). Cook on medium-low heat, 8 minutes, turning cubes every 1-2 minutes. Add scallions and cook an additional 2 minutes, until tofu is golden brown.

* reader lizkat, uses peanut oil with great success

21 comments:

Dana said...

That looks terrific! I LOVE tofu and think it gets a bad rap by most of our population. I'll try this!

Nicole said...

that looks so yummy, i needed some inspiration to cook more tofu, thanks!

melinda said...

mmmm....i love tofu and am always looking for new ways to cook. don't you think it's kind of an acquired taste? i think most people don't like the texture.

Juliana said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe...tofu is always welcome in our home.

Leslie said...

wow-just found your blog from the class! I am so impressed and will be a new follower! I can't wait to try some of your recipes!

MaryBeth Hughes said...

i'm just starting to cook tofu and looking forward to trying this recipe! your blog is next up for review in our mini groups from holly's course. it's great! i just wanted to introduce myself and give my kudos!

fresh365 said...

Hi Melinda- I guess I never had a problem with the texture, but I can understand the problem- especially if you eat it without baking or frying so the outside browns.

Chocolate and Steel said...

I'm totally going to try this recipe. One of my favorite restaurants makes salt and pepper tofu and I just couldn't figure out how to do it right.

My 3 year old son hates cooked tofu but he'll eat it raw. strange...

alifemorefabulous said...

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog today! I feel so luck to have found you today! - my husband and I are having a vegetarian week and my vegan cousin is coming for dinner tomorrow! :)
Love the blog - keep up the great work!
Hope you have a wonderful day!

That Girl Designs said...

this sounds great, but a bit too spicy for me. perhaps i can find a way to make it less so.

simplesong said...

YUM. Going to definitely try this. Love tofu.

Steph Bond @ Bondville said...

This looks incredible! Now on the menu for this week. I think my little one will like it too. Thank you!

rebekah said...

I plan on making this tomorrow night. Any suggestions to make it a full meal?

fresh365 said...

Hi Rebekah, The tofu would be great over brown rice with snow peas/broccoli/carrots stir fried in soy sauce and sesame oil. Or another suggestion would be a salad w/the orange-ginger dressing. Enjoy!

Yesenia said...

Hi! I found your blog from a link posted on The Kitchn. I love your blog! The recipes all look so tasty and the photos are beautiful. I had the salt and pepper tofu today and it was delicious - so flavorful with a nice kick. Ive had tofu a bunch of times but it was my first time cooking it. I thought it was a great recipe to start off with.

However, I had one problem that maybe you can help me with. The tofu got a bit crumbly when it was cooking. (I used extra firm, as advised.) Is that normal? If not, how do I avoid this next time?

Thanks. Can't wait to try some more of your recipes! :)

fresh365 said...

Hi Yesenia- Glad you enjoyed the dish! As far as the crumbling tofu is concerned, I have come across this problem before. If you do not press the tofu long enough to extract the water, it will not hold its shape well. I use thick towels to absorb as much as possible—you could always change the towels after 10-15 minutes if they are too damp. Also if the tofu sticks to the bottom of the pan when cooking and you struggle to get it free, it may crumble as well. You could try to either use a non-stick pan or add a bit of oil and shake the pan often to prevent sticking. I always try to remember it is a bit delicate and give it a light touch! I hope you try working with again and let me know how it goes!

lizykat said...

this sounded sooooo good, I am making it right now. the trick to browning tofu I learned from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Peanut Oil. sorry but olive oil takes a really long time to brown the stuff and peanut oil doesn't... thanks for the recipe and hope my comment is not considered rude!

fresh365 said...

Hi lizykat- Thanks so much for the suggestion. It's not rude at all! I have not had a problem with olive oil, but would love to try peanut oil next time. I'm going to add it to the recipe, so readers could try it as well.

carpediem said...

Do you have an out of country source for your soy products? Virtually all soy beans grown in the states is GMO. I had to eliminate it from my diet several years ago due to severe allergies.

Susan Diem said...

Do you have an out of country source for soy? All grown here in the states are GMO. I developed a severe allergy several years ago so had to eliminate it from my diet.

fresh365 said...

Hi Susan- From what I have read all organic tofu is non-GMO. Trader Joe has a version: Trader Joe’s High Protein Organic Tofu or you could try this one http://www.vinhloitofu.com/. This link may be helpful in identifying other soy products which are GMO free http://www.soyinfo.com/haz/company.shtml. Of course I would check with the company directly for updated info, since you do develop severe allergies.