I have been on a several-year-long quest to make drop-dead delicious tofu. You know, tofu that has that perfect texture with the crispier outside and chewy inside, and that’s full of flavor that would even leave even a vegetarian-hating-carnivore begging for more.
Over the 15 years of my vegetarianism, I have had myself quite a bit of tofu. Baked, fried, made into pudding, in salads, stirfrys, noodle dishes, etc etc etc. I like tofu. Heck, I’d even say I love the stuff. I even eat it plain and cold and straight from the fridge from time to time. Some people turn their nose up to it without ever giving it a shot. Major bummer/loss for them, because as many vegetarains, vegans, and meat-eaters know, the stuff can be crazy delicious.
I’ve read all sorts of things about how to make to-die-for tofu happen. After years of experimenting, I think I finally a method that makes me sing. This is a multi-step process, but if you’re crunched for time or lazy, you can easily skip parts and your tofu will still turn out okay. Honestly, I think one of the most critical steps is freezing the tofu before reheating. It sounds strange, but the tofu seems to adapt a new texture and chewiness as a result. It’s nom-tastic.
The whole freezing/reheating thing was actually something I discovered by accident while in college. I used to buy myself a block of tofu, and would often eat only half. As I’m a paranoid freak about food safety, I felt uneasy leaving it the fridge for a few days, so I’d pop it in the freezer. After a while, I came to the conclusion that I actually liked it better reheated out of the freezer. Googling lead me to find that this wasn’t just in my head, but an uncommonly known method that people sometimes use to achieve chewy-texture-tofu.
One of the great things about tofu is that not only can you manipulate the texture to suit your palate, it’s also a blank canvas for flavor. When presented with the Recipe Redux April challenge – “Spring Cleaning” – to go through your pantries and use something you haven’t used in a while, I saw a perfect opportunity to make use of the White Miso Paste I bought at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, but haven’t yet played around with.
I’ve also been on a super sushi-and-Asian-flavored-kick lately, which has resulted in me dragging my mom to half-price sushi on a weekly basis. We even went for Easter dinner b/c we’re so #fancy. No matter what night of the week it is, I always order a couple rolls and a house salad. The house salad comes with this amazing Carrot Ginger Miso dressing stuff dumped all over it, and it has been infatuation from the first bite. I always lick up every last drop. I hoard the freakin’ bowl when the waitress tries to politely collect it when all the lettuce is gone, so I can use it as a dipping sauce for my sushi. I’m insane. Go ahead and judge.
Anyways, such a flavor inspired me to glaze my tofu in a miso-ginger marinade of sorts. Ginger Miso Baked Tofu resulted. I was extremely pleased with the results. A lovely umami and subtly spicy flavor and a to-die-for hearty chewy texture, this recipe is a keeper for me, and I hope you’ll give it a whirl and find it to be the same. You can cut the tofu into whatever sized pieces you fancy; I made little nuggets and found them perfect for topping salads, stir-fries, and dipping straight into Sriracha as a snack. No matter how you slice it, it’s gonna be delish. Happy tofu-eating!
Prep Time: 1-8 hours (depending on how long you let the tofu drain and/or marinate)
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
- 1 14-ounce package Extra Firm Tofu
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey ??
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons orange juice or water
1. Drain excess water out of tofu by removing from package, and wrapping in a paper towel, and pressing gently on block of tofu to squeeze out liquid. For best results, place a weight (like a book or block) on top of covered tofu and allow to press out liquid for a few hours or overnight.
2. Meanwhile, prepare marinade by combining miso paste, soy sauce, brownu sugar/honey, freshly grated ginger, garlic and OJ or water in a small dish and whisk with a fork to combine.
3. Slice tofu into cubes or large rectangles, depending on your preference. Lay flat in a baking dish. Pour marinade over tofu, cover, and allow to marinade for 1-3 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper. Transfer tofu from the baking dish to parchment paper. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Flip tofu halfway through cook time if desired. Allow to cool and enjoy! :-)
For more recipes inspired by the April Spring Cleaning Recipe Redux Challenge, click around below: :-)