My friend Mary doesn’t like tofu. And I can understand why. I didn’t like it much as a kid, either. It’s pretty bland and tasteless. If umami expresses the savory quality in foods, tofu is the exact opposite, representing almost the absence of taste.
But hey, I’m not knocking tofu because I’ve really learned to like it. I like the silky type, mashed up with soy sauce and mixed with hot rice and a healthy sprinkling of sliced green onion. I like diced tofu in salad bars. And I like Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnuts Tossed with Penne, which, by the way, completely disguises the tofu “taste.”
Going through my mother’s recipe cards recently, I found a recipe for Teriyaki Tofu, where tofu is marinated in a teriyaki sauce, then floured and fried. I really liked the idea so I tried it and adapted the recipe for Special Fork. By infusing flavor directly into the tofu before cooking, this recipe might convert some tofu haters – tofu is certainly such a healthy food that it’s worth taking the few minutes to try it.
Mary, are you willing?
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1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 block extra-firm tofu
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons oil plus more, if needed
2 stalks green onion, sliced
- To make teriyaki marinade: In a small saucepan combine soy sauce, sugar, sake, ginger and garlic and heat a few minutes, stirring occasionally just until sugar is dissolved. Cool 5 minutes.
- Cut tofu crosswise into eight slices. Pat each slice dry with paper towels, gently pressing to remove as much moisture as possible without breaking up the slice.
- Pour marinade in wide bowl or pan and add tofu slices, turning to coat each piece. Marinate tofu for 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. If your bowl isn’t wide enough to accommodate all the tofu in one layer, you may need to keep moving the slices to ensure that each one comes in contact with the marinade.
- Meanwhile, in shallow bowl, combine flour and sesame seeds.
- When the tofu has marinated, lift out each slice, drain briefly, then dip both sides of the slice in the flour mixture to coat completely. Set aside on a sheet pan. Repeat with each slice; do not stack the slices or the coating will not adhere properly.
- Heat oil in broad skillet and add the tofu in a single layer. Do not crowd the pan; cook in batches, if needed. Cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side, just until the tofu is lightly browned and crusted. Add more oil if the pan is too dry after the first batch has cooked. Serve hot. Garnish with green onion.
- Reheat remaining marinade to use as a sauce, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
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