Tofu was one of the food items I never thought of going near. I had it once when I was younger (Tofurky to be exact)and everything about it reminded me of a sponge. It wasn’t until I moved to Texas and (you guessed it) needed a low-cost protein for my meals that I thought of experimenting with cooking tofu. The little knowledge of tofu I had was not only does it look like a sponge, but it acts like a sponge and soaks up whatever you marinate it in. Armed with that knowledge, I adapted a go-to sauce/marinade from my favorite recipe from Cooking Light for Sesame Soy Meatballs and tried my best to cook this unknown food. Warning: Sambal chili paste (found in the Asian food aisle) is hot, use more or less depending on how much heat you can handle. I personally like to add a little more into my dishes, but I am also an avid Frank’s Hot Sauce fan (I really do put that s**t on everything).
To go with this dish, I thought I would do something simple since the marinade has a lot of flavor to it. I had some tomatoes and an onions on hand and thought I’d do a simple saute as my side and it complimented everything perfectly. Here’s a fun fact, I thought I hated onions and garlic until I moved to Texas. Now I use them in almost every meal I cook. That leads me right into my next point.
At the end of my first tofu-cooking experience, I learned that you can’t give up on a certain food because you tried it once when you were younger and didn’t like it. I enjoy cooking with tofu, I love that it takes on the flavor of what it is cooked in. A lot of people have looked at me strange when I say that I made tofu for dinner, so I’m going to have to start making more recipes with tofu as the star. I’m not sure what’s better, the $1.49 price tag, or the versatility. It gets a bad reputation, but I really don’t think enough people give it a fair chance.
I like to cut mine in half lengthwise, then cut each half into triangles, but feel free to cube it, or cut it however you’d like
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sambal chili paste (gold label)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic
- Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, sesame oil, and garlic in a small bowl.
- Drain tofu package and expel excess liquid from tofu by gently pressing it between clean hands. Repeat until liquid no longer comes out of the tofu.
- Cut tofu into thinner pieces (I cut mine diagonally, then cut each triangle lengthwise)
- Place tofu into a container and pour the marinade over tofu (I like to place the tofu pack in the container to marinate it)
- Let marinate in fridge for up to 24 hours (the longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor will be)
- Place tofu slices and marinade into a frying pan or skillet and cook covered for about 8 minutes on each side, pouring extra marinade over tofu after you flip.
Tomatoes and Onions
- 1 Yellow onion, cut lengthwise
- 1 large tomato, cut lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 garlic glove
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut onion lengthwise into thin slices
- Cut tomato into thick pieces
- Add oil and onions to pan, cook over medium heat for 1 minute
- Add minced garlic glove to pan, let cook for one minute
- Place tomato slices into pan, season all with salt and pepper
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until desired tenderness, flipping the tomatoes halfway through and stirring the onions frequently