Tofu often gets a bad rap, usually due to its texture and bland taste. However, I think all it needs is a little love during the preparation and it can actually be quite delicious.
My boyfriend was a bit skeptical when I told him I was experimenting with tofu for dinner one night. I wanted to convince him otherwise, and the only way I knew how was if the tofu wound up having awesome flavor with some crunch. Marinating for a few hours in my combination of sweet and savory ingredients rid the issue of bland taste. Frying the tofu until it was slightly charred gave it great texture. The outcome was looking pretty good! To top if off, I sautéed some spinach in oil and garlic to serve on the side.
I’m happy to say that we both finished our plates completely. Mission accomplished!
14oz. package extra-firm tofu
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons grape seed oil, for frying
1. Place a few sheets of paper towels on plate, then place tofu on top of paper towels and gently press down to get rid of the initial water. Replace both the top and bottom wet paper towels with dry ones. Set a weighted object (bowl, pan, etc.) onto the top paper towel so that it gently continues pressing the moisture out of the tofu. Let sit for about 1 hour until most of moisture is removed. Replace paper towels as necessary during process.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Set aside. Slice pressed tofu into 3/4″ pieces crosswise (along the shorter side), about 11-12 pieces. Gently lay tofu in resealable gallon-size storage bag. Carefully pour marinade from bowl into storage bag, making sure to coat all pieces of tofu. Seal the bag well and refrigerate, laying flat, for a minimum of 2 hours (the longer it marinates, the more the flavor becomes infused). Slowly flip bag over at least once during marinating process, making sure that all tofu slices lay flat.
3. When tofu is ready to cook, gently remove slices from storage bag and set onto a plate. Do not discard marinade, pour it into a small pot set on low and slowly heat while you cook tofu. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat grape seed oil on medium heat. Gently shake excess marinade from each tofu slice before placing into heated pan. You may want to use an oil splatter screen while frying. Cook tofu until brown and crispy (about 5 minutes on each side). Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
4. Serve on a bed of rice and drizzle with heated marinade.