I was recently reminded of how intimidating tofu can be the first time one prepares it. Tofu is jiggly, an almost uncomfortable shade of white and is often the butt of many jokes. There are also multiple varieties of tofu, each with a specific purpose, and even more ways to prepare each type. All of this can create major kitchen anxiety.
I speak from personal experience. After several years of the “college diet” I decided to try my hand at making a healthy tofu pie that was supposed to be like Quiche. I stared in disbelief as a wet, wiggling blob of bean curd squished out of the box and into my hand. Really? I was supposed to make dinner with that? What I ended up with was a mushy pie plate of yellow goo with some sad veggies swimming about.
I decided from then on I would only eat tofu that other people made and so it remained until I moved to Kentucky and my diet changed dramatically due to food allergies. With several years of successful culinary adventures under my belt, an arsenal of reference cookbooks and trusty husband by my side, I set out to master the tofu. What has resulted is a beautiful relationship with soy. I use tofu to make creamy sauces and salad dressings. I bake it, poach it and use it to make faux cheeses. Tofu is an incredibly versatile ingredient with many nutritional perks.
Last weekend I whipped up a baked tofu and vegetable stir-fry that was so easy that I thought it worthy of sharing. Baking is an simple way to prepare tofu and is a great technique for beginners. Additionally, this recipe is 100% mine and can count towards Goal #15 in my 31 in 365 challenge! Only 11 more Sarah-Creations to go and I can check this baby off my list!
Ginger Sesame Baked Tofu with Sautéed Vegetables
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup of tahini
½ cup of reduced sodium tamari or reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon ginger juice
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce (reduce if you are not a fan of heat)
1 block of extra firm tofu
1 cup daikon radish, peeled, quartered and then sliced to the thickness of water chestnuts
1 cup julienned baby carrots
2 baby bok choy, leaves and stems separated and chopped (keep the leaves and stems in two different bowls as they will cook at different speeds)
Asian noodles of your choosing, cooked according to package directions
1. Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees. I use my convection toaster oven to bake tofu as it uses less energy and will not heat the entire kitchen up. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then spray with non-stick spray.
2. Slice a block of extra firm tofu into six equal slices. Dry each slice off with a paper towel (no need to be obsessive about this, just wrap it in a paper towel, hold it for a few seconds and unwrap).
3. Next, make the sauce by whisking the first six ingredients together in a small bowl.
4. Take each slice of dried tofu and submerge it in the sauce. Place the now saucy tofu on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce for later.
5. While the tofu cooks, wash and chop your veggies and onion.
6. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add carrots, radish and bok choy stems and sauté until the vegetables are done to your liking.
7. Add the bok choy leaves and sauté for a minute more.
8. Slowly add the remaining sauce. I added about ½ of the sauce as I prefer a lighter meal. Smell and taste as you add the sauce until you reach a saucy-ness that you like. Toss in your cooked noodles and sauté until heated through.
9. Spoon veggie and noodle mixture into large bowls and top with several slices of baked tofu.