Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Baked Thai-Style Tofu

Sometimes I make a recipe, really enjoy it but don't make it for years.  This recipe is one such favorite.  I first made it years ago living uptown with three other roommates.  I can distinctly recall being impressed by the tangy, nutty flavor and the sweetness of the roasted peppers but yet years passed before I made the recipe again.  I made it again recently, and was again appreciative of the simplicity of the recipe in contrast with the freshness of the end result.  Trust me, the picture above doesn't do the dish justice!  

I find this recipe to be flexible.  With bigger pieces cooked longer, the recipe makes a delicious sandwich stuffer.  With the tofu cut smaller (as depicted above)  it makes a nice side dish or component of an Asian meal.  We rushed this particular batch - the tofu could have done with a little more pressing and the tofu could have baked longer.  Still, even though quickly prepared, the dish was delicious and one that will be repeated again before more years pass.  

Baked Thai-Style Tofu
Jeanne Lemlin
Serves 3

This method of baking marinated tofu gives it a crispy coating and intensifies all the flavors in the "sauce".  You'll also love the ease with which this dish can be put together.  A side portion of rice,  or plain couscous is the best accompaniment.  Don't hesitate to serve this dynamic tofu dish cold; it would make a great lunch to take to work.

The Marinade:
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoons minced gingerroot
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes and patted very dry
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips, 1/4 inch by 2 inches

The Sauce
1 tablespoon natural-style peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 scallion very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil, or 1/4 tsp dried
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint, or 1/2 tsp dried

1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the tofu and red pepper to coat them evenly with the marinade.  Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 8 hours chilled.  Toss occasionally. 
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the tofu mixture and any remaining marinade in a large shallow baking dish so that the tofu rests in one layer.  Bake 15 minutes, tossing once with a spatula after about 7 minutes.
3. Meanwhile make the sauce by stirring all its ingredients together with a fork.  Remove the tofu from the oven. Spoon on the sauce, then, using a spatula toss the ingredients together until everything is well coated.  Return the dish to the oven and bake undisturbed for 10 minutes.  Let the tofu sit for at least 10 minutes before serving for it is better when warm, and not piping hot.  


Stephanie said...

Sounds right up my alley! I'm pretty sure I've come across this recipe before but never made it, so I appreciate the review- will have to give it a try soon. I have a weakness for peanut sauce.

kickpleat said...

this looks SO good!

Helios said...

Stephanie - it's a good one. Not quite sure if it has Sweet Ginger Tofu status, but it is a close second.

Kickpleat - I hope you'll try it.

Thanks for being my two biggest fans ladies! :)

Tyler said...

I had my first tofu last month and I have now made this twice! I enjoy it with brown rice and red onions