Thursday, February 18, 2010

Week 7: Tofu in Black Bean Sauce

Ahhh, tofu. One of those foods I feel like I should like, but it's always so boring and underwhelming and, well, not chicken. But one of the things I want to do with this project is try new things, so why not take a stab at tofu?

This recipe is from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook, slightly modified. The tofu was about as meh as I remembered, but the sauce was very tasty and I will certainly make it again. Probably to marinate chicken!

Start with a block of firm tofu (actually, I think this was extra firm). The first step in the recipe was to weight the tofu for 20 minutes, but I think because I used extra firm the weight didn't really seem to do anything. Cut the tofu first horizontally into 4 pieces, then cut from the top as shown, so you get 32 triangles.

The sauce: 2 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce, 1/2 tsp chili paste, 1 tsp sesame oil, 4 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar. Mix together, pour over the tofu and let it marinate for a while.

I could have used an additional tablespoon of the black bean sauce, in retrospect.

Heat some oil in a pan, and saute 3 garlic cloves, minced, and 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger just until fragrent, then add the tofu. Cook the tofu until golden brown (about 5 minutes), flip, and sear the other side. Keep the marinade, and while the tofu is cooking add to the marinade 1/3 cup of water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock, and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisk well.

Once the tofu is ready, dump in the marinade/stock/starch mixture and cook until it thickens into a nice sauce.

Serve over rice with steamed veggies on the side.

I really liked the sauce and will definitely make it again. Tastes very similar to a ready made PC sauce I used to buy. The tofu, eh. Still not a fan. The baby ate a few pieces; the older kid took the tiniest bite you've ever seen in your life then just ate the rice and the vegetables. Oh well, they can't all be winners!

Tofu in Black Bean Sauce

1 block firm or extra firm tofu
2 or 3 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce
1/2 tsp chili paste
1 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/3 cup stock or water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Cut block of tofu lengthwise into 4 slabs. With the slabs stacked, cut from corner to corner and then once lengthwise and once widthwise to create 32 triangles.

Mix together black bean sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar. Pour over tofu and allow to marinate.

Heat some oil over medium, then saute garlic and ginger briefly. Add tofu in a single layer (reserve the marinade). Cook until golden brown (about 4 minutes), turn, and cook the other side.

Mix the marinade with stock and cornstarch, whisking well. Pour over the tofu and cook until the sauce thickens. Serve over rice with veggies on the side.

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