As you may have noticed from the title of this post (if you’re very clever, that is) — this recipe contains tofu. Tofu! I have never been a fan of tofu, and I’m still not sure I’d call myself a “fan,” but I did like this tofu quite a lot.
It’s a texture thing, right? Every time I’d ever eaten tofu, it was all soft and wobbly and blecccch. So I stopped eating it. For several years, actually. Then a few weeks ago, I was at a Korean restaurant with my (vegetarian) friend, and they brought out an appetizer plate that contained some kind of marinated tofu. Being of the opinion that you should be adventurous in trying new cuisines, I sampled the tofu and was surprised to find I kindof liked it. Taste: good! Texture: good! Firm and lacking any trace of a wobble. We were in business.
Based on this entirely pleasant tofu experience, I suspected that maybe tofu isn’t gross per se — maybe I’d just had gross tofu. So I decided to make my own, and my suspicions were confirmed. I think the key is looking for tofu labeled “extra firm” and then removing as much moisture as possible from it (as explained below). Give it a try!
CHILI-LIME TOFU WITH RICE AND SPINACH (recipe from A Taste of Home Cooking)
1 cup white or brown rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp garlic chili pepper sauce (such as sambal oelek)
6 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 package extra-firm tofu
2 cups fresh spinach
1 tbsp sesame oil, divided
1. In medium saucepan combine the rice, water, salt, zest of 1 lime, and nutmeg. Cook according to the package directions.
2. Unwrap tofu. Place on plate lined with 4 paper towels. Cover with 4 more paper towels and weigh down with plate or skillet topped with heavy cans (I used a Le Creuset baking dish weighed down with an enormous bottle of Ketel One vodka I got at Costco for like $4!). Allow to press and drain for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
3. In small bowl combine sugar, soy sauce, 4 cloves minced garlic, sambal oelek, and juice of both limes. Mix well and set aside.
4. Once tofu has drained, slice it in 3 slices lengthwise. Cut each rectangle in half (making squares), then each square into two triangles. Heat 1 tsp sesame oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook tofu 4-5 minutes on each side. or until it is golden brown (the color of a really delicious pancake).
5. Lower heat in skillet and pour chili lime sauce over tofu. Allow sauce to bubble up, reduce, and form a glaze while carefully tossing tofu. Remove from heat once the sauce is at your desired consistency.
6. In medium pan, heat up remaining 2 tsp sesame oil; add spinach and remaining 2 tsp garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted but still green. Serve rice topped with spinach, with tofu on top.
So I’m kindof burying the lead by just telling you this now, but — my husband ate seconds of this! That’s a pretty big seal of approval right there. I loved how the tofu took on the flavors of the spicy/citrusy glaze, but what I really loved was how the big huge bock of tofu that fed both of us heartily with plenty left over only had 360 calories in the whole thing. This was tasty, healthy, and vegan to boot.
I think there’s a chance you may see more tofu recipes from me in the future…