Basic Baked and Broiled Tofu
This is so easy, it feels a little like cheating. At its simplest, with a glaze of tamari and an additional seasoning or two, tofu under the broiler turns golden and savory in about 15 minutes, ready for the plate or a bun or a number of other more fancy treatments. Baked, it has time to absorb some sauce (even more time if it marinates) and it can be soft or firm depending entirely on your mood. Just follow these guidelines – instructions are given based on a 14 ounce package.
Use firm or extra firm tofu. Silken tofu has its uses, especially for vegans, but this is not one of them. The tofu packed in water needs to be pressed to remove excess moisture. (It won’t absorb other flavors and will remain mushy if it is too wet.) If you buy the packages that are simply wrapped without water, they are dry enough already. The kind that comes packaged like juice boxes are too loose to bake. I’ve had the most success upending a dinner plate, putting the tofu on the plate, placing another plate on top of that, and weighing it down with something full of water. Check it after about 15 minutes – it will press unevenly and you might need to straighten it out. 25 minutes ought to be enough total pressing time. Unused, uncooked tofu can be stored, covered in water, for about 4 days.
Once pressed, cut it lengthwise into 4 slabs, and divide those slabs into 4 triangles each.
For broiling, a good basic sauce is
2 tbsp tamari
1/4 cup water
minced garlic or ginger
or use Simple Sauce
Thinly coat a broiling pan or cast iron skillet with some oil. Dip the tofu triangles in the braising liquid and place in the pan. Put under broiler and cook for 10 minutes, pour a few spoonfuls of the remaining sauce over the tofu and continue broiling for another 3 minutes, repeat. At this point the tofu should be golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.
Instructions from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.
For baking, almost any favorite sauce will work. Teriyaki and barbeque sauces are great – things that glaze come out well. Use about ½ cup of your sauce. Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold the tofu you are baking arranged so the sides are not touching (do not fill the dish just yet.) Pour just enough sauce to coat the bottom and arrange your tofu triangles. Cover the tofu with the remaining sauce. Use your judgement; if it is an especially strong sauce, thin it or use it sparingly. Thin sauces result in softer tofu; thicker sauces, especially those with honey or syrups, can create a crust and allow the tofu to be a little denser. Bake it at 350 for about 20 minutes and serve.
Date: December 30, 2009