Peggy Lampman's Wednesday dinnerFeed: Asian baked tofu with colorful vegetables
In the second and final step of the program, I use the same preparation but bake the tofu instead of frying it. After having just finished the fried tofu, I note slightly less enthusiasm in my subject's eye with this baked version. I then remind them of the caloric savings in baking as opposed to frying, and the dish is gobbled down in minutes. This two-step program works like a charm; I have yet to meet a subject that did not, eventually, see the silky white light.
I enjoy serving these baked tofu squares on a bed of stir-fried julienned Asian vegetables such as bok choy, shitake mushrooms, cilantro, carrots or colorful bell peppers. I use leftover tofu marinade to season the stir-fry. Pre-packs of Asian stir-fry vegetables are available in the produce sections of most groceries and markets, as well. The tofu may also be cubed and served as an appetizer with an Asian dipping sauce.
Yield: 3 servings Cost: apx. $5.50 Active Time: 10 minutes Drain, Marinate and Bake Time: 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours
12-14 ounces tofu; soft, medium or firm 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot 1/2 teaspoon-1 tablespoon hot chili paste with garlic* 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, white, black or a combination
*This condiment is wonderful but if you are encouraging small children to eat tofu, even 1/2 teaspoon may be too spicy. You will find chili paste in the Asian aisles of most groceries and several varieties at Asian groceries in town.
1. Cut tofu into 1-inch slices and drain, weighted down on paper towels, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Moisture content varies greatly so you may need to change the paper towels when they become wet. 2. In a dish large enough to accommodate the tofu squares, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon chili paste. Taste and add more chili paste as desired. Place pieces of tofu in the marinade and let rest, at room temperature one hour, turning once. 3. Preheat oven to 400Ëš. 4. Line a baking sheet with foil, lightly oiled or sprayed with cooking oil spray. Place pieces of tofu on baking sheet; 5. Bake tofu on center rack of oven 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn tofu squares over. Divide and sprinkle top of each piece with sesame seeds and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until tofu is golden brown.