Sunday, March 22, 2009

cheap eats: DIY baked tofu

I used to be a vegetarian, and much to veg-heads chagrin, I gave it up. Mainly because I was frickin' hungry all the time and because I can only tolerate so much tofu in a week. I still eat a pretty meat free diet, but I do love eggs, cheese and fish. If you're a vegan, raw food eater or just survive on air, please don't give me crap for what I eat and I won't for what you don't. ;-)

I have cut way back on the tofu, but occasionally I get a jones for baked tofu. Tofu that's flavored and firmer than those typical bland white cubes. Yawn. The baked stuff is kind of spendy for what it is. Up to 4 bucks for a tiny block? Uh, no, I can make this myself.

So here's my way of making homemade baked tofu.
  • first you need the kind of tofu that's packed in water. Now you need to drain the water. Go figure. Take the tofu out of the container, put it on a large plate and put something heavy on it to help drain more water out. I use a cast iron skillet, but you can use another plate and load something on top of that. Takes about 5 minutes.
  • cut the tofu into 1/2"-1" cubes. Don't be one of those uber recipe followers. Just guesstimate.
  • in a bowl toss with flavorings of your choice. Here are some ideas. BBQ sauce; teriyaki sauce; oil, soy and curry powder; onion soup mix and oil; and my favorite, mushroom soy sauce*, oil, nutritional yeast, and a tiny tad of liquid smoke. I don't measure things when I make them up so go with your instincts**.
  • taste your concoction. Like it? OK? Now, spread it out on a cookie sheet or, as I do, a cast iron skillet.
  • put sheet/skillet in the oven at 375 degrees.
  • bake for about 45 minutes, flipping it around a time or two along the way.
  • voila! Baked tofu.
Enjoy your tasty morsels in a salad, over a rice bowel, in a pita or tortilla, mixed in a stir fry.

*mushroom soy sauce is a thai soy sauce. I LOVE this stuff. Tastes completely different from regular soy. I use it to make my lazy ass-gringo thai peanut sauce. You can find it at Asian markets like An Dong or Fubonn Market. Nowhere near an Asian market? You have my permission to use regular soy. ;-)

** this is why I don't bake. Cooking is an art and baking is a science.


Gayle said...

YUM! thanks for sharing the recipe

Meredith said...

Um. Tofu frightens me. It's the texture and the wetness. Eww. Maybe if I didn't have to prep it I'd eat it!!

Love the healthy snack ideas though! And an update...went to class #5 at Jazzercise last night...woohoo!!

Kristin said...

Meredith, try freezing your tofu first, then thaw and squeeze out the excess water. This method creates a tofu similar to deep frying without actually deep frying! It's more spongy and not slimy at all. Doesn't really work as a precursor to the baked tofu though. I think it would end up being tofu briquets.

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