Monday, March 14, 2011

You Will Like This Tofu

Is there any other food as polarizing as tofu? Cilantro perhaps (spoiler: cilantro is the worst thing about everything) but I can't think of many others. Let me say this right off the bat: tofu can be completely disgusting. I don't know anyone who like a wiggly giggly block of flavorless mush. But it can also be really flavorful and have an interesting texture if prepared correctly.

I used to go through a big routine to sauté tofu on the stovetop, first pressing, then marinating, then dredging in spices and cornstarch, blah, blah, blah. Way too much work. The following is my new and improved tofu method. Much easier and I find myself having this a couple of times a week. I urge even those adverse to the big block of bean curd to give it a try. It might seem like it takes a while, but most of it is inactive time so you can do other things while you wait.

Baked Tofu
(Makes enough for 2 medium servings)

First gather your ingredients!

0.5 block of extra firm tofu
1 T olive oil
1 T soy sauce
1 T veggie worcheshire sauce (or non veggie if you want)
Garlic powder
Black pepper

Since your tofu has been sitting in a water bath for awhile you need to press all of that excess liquid out of it. I skipped this step for years as it seemed annoying and pointless - but this is the key to great tofu! I cut my block in half and save one half for later. I then cut the half I am using into 3 pieces and lay them out on paper towels.

Put more paper towels on top and then add a cutting board or other flat surface and some weight to press out the water. My setup looks like this:

Now go do something else for a half hour or so. Check back and change the towels if necessary. While you wait you can prepare the marinade. Take all of your ingredients from above and combine with a whisk. Obviously the spices are subjective and you can add as much or as little as you want. Also feel free to put in whatever combo your heart desires. This is just my favorite combo. Make sure you have the oil and soy sauce included.

Is your tofu done pressing? Good! Cut it up into bite size pieces and toss with the marinade. Let them hang out for 15 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Nom nom nom

To cook the tofu I recommend lining your baking sheet with tin foil. The marinade can make a mess and I'm not too keen on scrubbing my dishes for hours so I go for easy cleanup. Place your marinaded tofu bites on the baking sheet and bake them for 25-30 minutes. You should turn them over half way through to make sure they bake evenly.

I am roasting this batch alongside some brussels sprouts!

Keep a close eye on them because they can burn quickly. I tend to like mine a cooked a bit on the longer side. Tonight I had mine with brussels sprouts over whole wheat cous cous with a side of roasted carrots.

To tofu skeptics: I know the reputation of tofu, but believe me, this doesn't taste like the tofu you are used to. It is very flavorful because you pressed the tofu allowing it to soak up the marinade like a sponge. Just as important, baking it has given it a chewy interesting texture that makes you completely forget its past life as a big boring glob. You won't be disappointed.


  1. Does the tofu become crispy on the outside? Also, how do you feel about the tofu that comes in the vacuum sealed package (not in liquid)? It is cheaper...but I am always skeptical.

  2. I wouldn't say crispy. Baking it dries it out and gives it a very chewy texture. I have used the vacuum packed silken tofu for baking (pies, smoothies, etc.) but have never tried the firm variety. Let me know if it works!