It is great to have a variety of go-to meals stored in your mental recipe collection. These meals can generally be pulled together using freezer and pantry staples, and though they may be written down somewhere the precise recipe is no longer needed. Alas even those back up ideas can become dull after awhile so it is good to stay on the look out for new inspiration. I really appreciate when I come across a new recipe that looks like it was developed in my own kitchen.
That is exactly what happened the day I found An Edible Mosaic's recipe for Sesame Crusted Tofu. WAIT DON'T GO! Yes, I said tofu but trust me this is a really great recipe. I know there are many Our Lady readers who already prepare and enjoy tofu regularly so if you are among them jump down to the recipe and try it soon. If you are hesitant or quite sure you don't like tofu please let me plead my case.
Yes it comes out of the package looking like a cross between feta cheese and soggy Jell-O. But it is the spongy bouncy texture that makes it a perfect blank canvas for any flavor you can dream up. The very softest varieties can be turned into sauces and used in baking. While firmer tofu works well in savory dishes to provide flavor and texture that even skeptical meat eaters can enjoy.
Faith at An Edible Mosaic graciously gave her blessing for me to share her recipe with my readers, particularly when I told her it was a hit with both adults and toddlers. The only down side to this recipe is that it does take a little bit of time between the first two steps so it is not a run in the door and have dinner on the table in 20 minutes dinner plan. That said, the steps are extremely simple and even a first time tofu chef should be able to master it with one try. The success of this recipe lies in its two simple components. First the drained tofu soaks in a bath of lovely asian flavors that seep into all the tiny nooks and crannies. Second it is coated with flour and sesame seeds before toasting on the stove top until crisp and golden.
The light toasty crust and the flavorful inside are pretty much as good as it gets. I found this recipe about a month or so ago and we have already gobbled it up four times! Mr. Second Helpings has been a good sport when I have served tofu in the past but he genuinely enjoys seeing this on his plate. One night we served it to my friend and her three year-old. She was pretty confident that he would reject it on sight. Instead he dove right in and requested seconds.
I changed very little about the original recipe. She recommends extra-firm tofu while I prefer firm for a little bit more contrast in textures. There was a grocery-related miscommunication the first time I made it so fish sauce pinch hit for the vinegar. I have also taken to using more soy sauce so I can toss vegetables for stir-fry in the remaining marinade.
If you have never made tofu at home this recipe is a great way to ease into a new ingredient. And if you are still feeling nervous then, I triple-dog-dare you! So now you have to try it.
A deeply flavorful marinade covered with a light crisp crust make this tofu preparation tempting enough to convert even die hard skeptics. Makes three servings of two pieces per serving. Published on An Edible Mosaic in January of 2012, this modified version of Sesame-Crusted Tofu has been reprinted with permission.
- 1 (14-16 oz) block of tofu - firm or extra-firm
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 large cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
- 1-inch piece ginger, grated on a microplane
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup all purpose flour (or any flour you like)
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- To drain the tofu, arrange in a single layer in a dish lined with a clean napkin or kitchen towel; cover it with a second clean towel. Top with a flat board with a weight on top. (see image above) Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- To make the marinade, whisk together 1 tablespoon of oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Cut the tofu in half so you have 2 blocks, then slice each half into thirds to create 6 equal slabs; put the sliced tofu in the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes. (If desired use this time to prepare vegetables for stir-frying)
- Combine the flour and sesame seeds in a shallow dish; dredge both sides of each tofu piece in this mixture. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (spray with a bit of non-stick spray if needed); add the tofu and toast until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Serve warm. (Toss prepared vegetables in the remaining marinade. Stir-fry vegetables while tofu is toasting.)