Saturday, May 31, 2008

Barbeque Tofu with Sauteed Red Onions

While I feel very virtuous when making barbeque tofu, part of me really wants to sort of mock the sad little white blocks while I am preparing it. Sort of really tell it how I feel, because you know, taking tofu down a peg makes me feel better.

My main issue with tofu is that is makes me think of things I used to eat with barbeque sauce... things that would get crackly and crispy and sear properly, dammit, is that so much to ask for?? I'd always been pretty content to let other people do the tofu eating before I stopped eating meat.  

But now, it's the brave new world of pale, flaccid meat proxies! Yeah! In all seriousness though, this tofu did turn out quite well. 

The key to getting tofu to behave, er, to brown is to remove some of the water.  Tofu comes water logged, which is not an ideal situation when trying to get color on anything.  I've taken to pressing my tofu blocks using a flat-bottomed tea kettle (not hot, mind you!) full of water. If you don't have a kettle, you can used anything that has some heft to it, like foil covered bricks. 

Simply put the kettle on tofu that has been sandwiched in between stacks of paper towels, and voila! You'll be amazed at our much water drains out. You can repeat with dry stacks of towels until you lose patience and just want to eat already.  Usually the draining takes about 15- 20 minutes.  

I served this tofu with sauteed red onions,  corn on the cob and a light salad of sliced radishes, snow peas and peeled carrots that had a dressing of rice vinegar and oil. Tasty!

Barbeque Tofu with Sauteed Red Onions


2 blocks extra firm tofu, pressed to remove water (see above for instructions)
2 c barbeque sauce, plus more for serving
2TB vegetable oil 
1 red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rings
salt and pepper to taste


Slice each tofu block into thirds horizontally.  Place in a bowl with two cups of barbeque sauce. Turn to coat each piece. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.  

In a medium skillet, heat  1TB oil.  When oil is heated, add onion rings, season with salt and pepper, and cook on low-medium heat until rings are soft, about 7-10  minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat 1TB oil in large skillet.  Prior to placing each piece of tofu in skillet, remove excess sauce with a spatula.  When oil is hot, place 2 tofu pieces at a time in skillet, leaving space between pieces. Brown on each side for 3-4 minutes.  Remove to plate. Repeat with remaining pieces. 

Serve tofu with additional sauce and onion rings. Serves 4. 


tomcheng said...

The dish was indeed delicious--spicy and sweet with a nice amount of char--but I agree tofu is not much of a proxy for meat. One thing I'd definitely like to see in English-language media is more recipes that treat tofu as a food in its own right, instead of simply as a meat substitute. After all, as with mozzarella and chicken breast, "pale, bland, and flaccid" should just be a starting point.

Bob said...

I find that in so many situations in my life "pale, bland, and flaccid" is just a starting point...