I love this tofu dish. For years, even before I began traveling a slow path towards vegetarianism, Iâ€™d been trying to find a way to eat tofu that I found palatable. I’ve successfully found a few other tofu recipes, but this one beats them all, hands down. Two years ago, shortly after my Celiac diagnosis, when I had the Chicken in Lettuce Wraps at PF Changâ€™s (one of their gluten free options), I decided to try and replicate it, only I wanted to use tofu. It took awhile to figure out the ingredients needed to match the taste at PF Changâ€™s. Now, at this point, itâ€™s been so long since Iâ€™ve had it that Iâ€™m not even sure if itâ€™s exactly like the aforementioned appetizer. But this is what I know: Iâ€™ve been making it this way for about a year now, and every time I make it, I love it more. By the way, the cornstarch is an important step, as it helps make the tofu crispy, which is how I prefer my tofu, at least in this recipe.
I always serve it with jasmine rice which I make in my trusty rice cooker. Last night, I also served it with sautÃ©ed brussel sprouts (thanks to Heidi at 101 cookbooks), sautÃ©ed in my new Lodge cast iron pan. I don’t serve the brussel sprouts with the parmesan cheese, as I’m trying to eat dairy-free, but I’m sure it would take them to a whole other delicious level if you decide to do so. Every serious cook needs to own one of these cast iron pans, whether itâ€™s an old one passed down from a loved one or a new pan like the one I recently acquired. Thereâ€™s something old-fashioned and wonderful about cooking in one of these. Not to mention how great it is as a cooking tool. The brussel sprouts came out crisp and almost mustard tasting. And these three things (tofu, rice, brussel sprouts) make great leftovers, always a plus in my book.
Tofu with an Asian Twist
recipe created by Ellen Allard
2 hefty servings or 4 medium-sized servings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed (see note), and cubed
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup (or sweetener of choice)
Â¼ cup wheat-free tamari (I use San-J)
Â½ teaspoon chili powder (or less if you prefer it less spicy)
Dredge the cubed tofu in cornstarch. Heat the oil over high heat. When hot, slowly and carefully add the tofu. Saute it, gently tossing to ensure that as many sides of the tofu get crisp. This will take about 5 â€“ 7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Toss gently to ensure that it is as evenly distributed as possible (if some of it clumps, that’s ok). This will take about 30 seconds. Add toasted sesame oil, agave syrup, tamari, and chili powder. Toss gently and allow ingredients to get hot and coat all of the tofu. Serve over jasmine rice. I’ve also served this in lettuce leaves.
Note: To press the water out of the tofu, drain it from the package, place on a plate, place a second plate on top of the tofu, place a heavy weight on top of the second plate. Press it for 1 – 2 hours, or overnight in the frig. Drain the water and proceed with recipe.