Monday, May 2, 2011

Tofu with Peanut Sauce

This recipe is a true gem. It's really easy to make, uses simple ingredients, and can be adapted an infinite number of ways. If you aren't a tofu lover, try the peanut sauce on rice, pasta, or vegetables. Or, another protein choice. It's really, really good.

Dave loves Asian food and the few good Asian restaurants in our area have limited vegetarian/vegan menus, so it's wonderful to able to make something this delicious and restaurant-worthy at home. At the drop of a hat no less!

The recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates, and since it's a book geared towards celebrations, it serves 8 to 10. I went ahead and made the full recipe and found that the leftovers
were wonderful over the next couple of days.

You're supposed to thread the tofu onto wooden skewers which makes for a very festive presentation. Since I was making this for a regular dinner and not a festivity, I went ahead and cut the tofu into "fingers". But, if I were serving this to a group of people at a potluck or something, I'd go ahead and take the extra time to make skewers.

I served the tofu with Jasmine rice and some stir-fried veggies on the side.

Tofu Skewers with Peanut Sauce
For the tofu:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cakes firm tofu

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey or 2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons fresh lime juice or white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon tabasco or other hot pepper sauce, more to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
1/2 cup peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 450F. Lightly spray or oil a large baking sheet.

In a large shallow bowl, stir together the soy sauce and oil. Cut a cake of tofu in half crosswise (like a layer cake), stack the two halves back together, and position the tofu so you can cut parallel to its long side. Slice down through both layers eight times to make a total of 18 thin pieces. Put the tofu pieces into the bowl and coat well with the soy sauce mixture.

To thread the tofu lengthwise onto skewers, stand a tofu piece on its thin edge so that the long side is parallel to the countertop edge. Poke the skewer away from you straight through the tofu near its right end. Bend the rest of the tofu piece up and to the right and poke through near the middle, then curve the tofu back to the left to make a backward S-shape and poke through the other end. Gently push the piece down the skewers to the center and thread one more piece onto each end for three pieces per skewer. Or, if you prefer, thread only two pieces per skewer , one on each end. Continue using the coated tofu pieces to make five more three-piece skewers or eight more two-piece skewers. Place the finished skewers edge-side down on the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat this process for the other two cakes of tofu.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until sizzling and browned.

Meanwhile, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. If the sauce is too thick to pour, add a little water. Set aside.

When the tofu skewers are baked, place them on a serving platter and generously drizzle with peanut sauce. Serve hot or at room temperature. Pass any extra sauce at the table.

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