Monday, September 30, 2013

Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce and a side of Hot and Sour Mushroom Stir fry

This is a very quick dish or you can do some steps ahead and end up with something very different. Both are really tasty. Just different.

If you start with frozen and pressed tofu, the tofu will cook up very firm, making it excellent for putting in vegetarian spring rolls or using in stir fries. If you start with tofu that is fresh from the carton, it will be saucier - the water that you would have pressed out will combine with the peanut butter mixture and make a sauce. It's good over plain rice or noodles either way.

Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce
(serves 4, costs $2.50)

1 carton of firm tofu, 14 to 16 oz.
3 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch of cayenne
1 Tablespoon soy sauce, regular or low-sodium

Drain the tofu and slice it into 6-8 slices, about ¾" thick. You have a few choices at this point:

Lots of time: Freeze tofu, thaw, then lay on a baking rack between paper towels over a dish to catch any drips. Cover with a baking sheet and weight down with a couple of heavy cans to press out even more moisture. Let drain for 30 minutes.

Little time but you planned ahead: Freeze the tofu and then thaw.

No time: Pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the sauce into the pan. Place the tofu on top and turn to cover both sides with sauce. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn over tofu and bake for another 8-10 minutes until sauce is bubbly and hot.

This can also be made in the microwave, which is even faster. Make sure to use a microwaveable baking dish and cook it for 3 minutes on each side.

Note: You can slice and freeze the tofu in advance. I keep some frozen tofu in the freezer so I can make a chewy tofu dish quickly.

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