If you have avoided tofu because of the 'it tastes like a jiggly blog of nothing' syndrome this is the dish to change your mind. A few months ago K* and I made baked tofu. Neither of us had had it before and we both were a bit surprised at how well it turned (although we cooked it a bit too long and 'blackened tofu' would have been a more apt description). Baking the tofu allows it to brown and get a little crispy on the edges and an Asian style marinade and dipping sauce impart a ton of flavor on an otherwise blank slate.
Last time, the tofu had really good base flavor but seemed to be missing a bit of sweetness to balance out the salty soy sauce and had a bit too much sesame oil for my taste. This time I looked at a few recipes online and adjusted the proportions to reduce the amount of sesame oil and added some honey for balance. The dish comes together in about 10 minutes, though if you have time, allowing the tofu to marinate would really enhance the flavor. The tofu turns out that beautiful golden color (like at Chinese restaurants where its deep fried) but with minimal fat. You can serve it hot, at room temperature or cold, on its own or in a salad or stir fry.
Golden Baked Tofu
Serves 4 as a substantial appetizer
1 block firm of extra firm tofu, cut down the center long ways and then into block about 1/3 in. wide
2 t. sesame oil
1 T. plus 1 t. olive oil
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. marsala (or rice wine)
2 T. seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 T. plus 1 t. honey
2 clove garlic, mined
1/2 t. powdered ginger (or 1/2t. fresh grated)
- Put a layer of paper towels down on a plate or pan, set the tofu on top of it a single layer, top with another layer of paper towels and set another plate or pan on top along with a tin can or two. This draws some moisture out of the tofu so it can absorb the marinade. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Mix remaining ingredients together ingredients for the marinade.
- Put the tofu in a baking pan with sides and pour about two thirds of the marinade on top making sure each piece is covered. [even if you only have 10 minutes, your tofu will befit from a little rest in the drink- you could even do this in the morning before work and bake in the evening]
- Heat oven to 425F and bake tofu for 20 minutes. Remove tray from oven and flip the tofu over. If it seems very dry, add a bit more marinade. Increase oven temp to 450 and bake tofu for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve tofu immediately or at room temperature or save for use in recipes. If serving the tofu on it's own, use the remaining marinade as a dipping sauce.