Category Archives: tofu

Steamed Silken Tofu with Scallions

My friend R. sent me a link to the droolworthy foodgawker today, and the first thing that caught my eye was the Steamed Silky Soft Tofu.  And just like that, I had to have it.  R. and I were already planning to cook something tonight with the fresh thai basil and mushroom soy sauce I got this morning at the Asian supermarket in Austin.  I ran out to get some silken tofu and we were in business.

This might be one of the easiest recipes a person could make.  All you need is a big pot and a steamer basket.  The original recipe used a heat safe plate as a steamer plate, but I just went for the basket to be safe.

what you need:
– 1 box of Silken brand firm tofu
– about 1 tablespoon mushroom flavored soy sauce (I’m partial to Healthy Boy brand)
– about 1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce or oyster sauce
– 1 scallion, thinly sliced

what to do:
Place the steamer basket in a pot with about 1/2 inch of water.  Place the tofu in the basket – if you need to cut it into two or three pieces so it fits, that’s just fine.  Turn the heat to high and cover the pot.  Steam the tofu for 15 minutes, watching to make sure there is still water left in the pot.  If the water gets too low, add a cup of hot water, 1/2 cup at a time.  If you are feeling fancy, while this is going on you can sautee some sliced shallots until crispy, but I left the shallots out because I forgot to get them.

After 15 minutes, gently remove the tofu from the steamer with a spatula.  Drizzle the tofu with soy and hoisin, and sprinkle with scallions and shallots if you’re using them.

And that’s all!  So easy, and surprisingly packed with flavor.  Enjoy!

Leigh on Foodista

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Orange Pan-Glazed Tofu & Lentils

I had some tofu I needed to use, and had been trying to figure out a good substitute for rice as a base for tofu dishes.  I decided to try lentils and the verdict was great success.  I found this great recipe on 101 Cookbooks for Orange Pan Glazed Tempeh.  I followed it with a few little modifications, and added steamed broccoli and cooked lentils.  Note that it was very pretty when it was first made, and while it still tasted good reheated as leftovers, it was not nearly as appealing looking.  One other thing – next time I’d think about doubling the sauce…but I like things saucy 🙂

ingredients
10-12 oz extra-firm tofu
1 c. orange juice (freshly squeezed is preferred – I juiced the one orange I had, and then filled it in with bottled juice)
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
1.5 tbsp mirin (or white wine of your choice)
2 tsp maple syrup (I used the fake kind and it was fine.  i won’t tell if you don’t.)
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsps olive oil
1/2 lime

instructions

1. cut the tofu into squares about 1/2 inch thick.  place on top of about 4 paper towels, and top with another 4 layers of paper towel, and put a weight on top.  i used a frying pan.  let this sit for about 15 minutes – the tofu will be nice and dry.

2. mix the orange juice, grated ginger, soy sauce, maple syrup, mirin or wine, and garlic in a small bowl.  set aside.

3. heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. when the oil is hot and shimmers a little, add the tofu and fry 5 minutes on either side, so that it is nice and golden brown.

4. pour the orange juice mixture over the tofu and simmer 10 minutes, turning the tofu to coat occasionally – the sauce will reduce to a thick glaze.

just starting to reduce….
now we’re talkin

5. serve over steamed broccoli and cooked lentils.

Mid-Week Quickie: Mushroom Walnut Tofu Burgers


I think the noticeable lack of meat dishes on my blog bears mentioning. Over the last few years I’ve read all the books about local food, and small producers, and become more and more disturbed by the factory farm industry. Finally, this year, I committed to significantly reducing the amount of meat I eat. So while I’m not entirely vegetarian (as you can see from the various chicken recipes), I generally don’t cook meat at home. The good news is, meatless food does not have to be boring (or filled with granola, as the myth seems to be).

Today I was reading Bon Apetit while I got my oil changed, and they had a recipe for wild mushroom cakes. That got me thinking that I had a bunch of things in the fridge I wanted to use up, and that I had everything I needed to make my own version of a mushroom burger. It came out great – give it a try!

ingredients (makes 2 burgers)
4 oz cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced with the stems removed
1 egg, beaten
1/3 container extra firm tofu
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/8 c. parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c walnuts

instructions
1. toast the walnuts in a dry nonstick pan over medium high heat. just toss them around in the hot pan every minute or so, until they start to smell good. drop those babies in the food processor.
2. put a splash of olive oil in the pan, and when it shimmers, add the mushrooms. saute 2 minutes. add the garlic and stir, and cook 1 additional minute, stirring occasionally. add to food processor.
3. slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick planks and add to the hot pan. saute for 1 minute, until they look drier – you don’t want to add excess water to the food processor. add them to the processor.
4. add the egg and breadcrumbs to the mixture in the food processor, and blend until chunky but combined. mold the mixture into two patties.don’t panic if it looks a little loose at this point – it will firm up in the pan.
5. heat another splash of olive oil over medium high heat. when it shimmers, add the patties. cook about 5 minutes on each side, until brown and crispy, and cooked through.
getting crispy!
6. serve on a roll, or over a salad. I topped mine with spicy-sweet pepadew peppers, a little parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinagrette.

Bun chai – Vietnamese Noodle Salad


So I had half the ingredients from yesterday’s Triple Sesame Salad (lettuce, spinach, cooked tofu, cucumber, scallions) and some dressing, but wanted something different tonight. Still working on my goal of finishing all my fresh vegetables and groceries before I go to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving this week, I pulled out a bag of green beans and a couple of eggs, and a bundle of round udon noodles. I was feeling like a variation on a Vietnamese noodle salad. Normally this salad would be served with nuoc cham dipping sauce, but I didn’t have any fish sauce, so I substituted soy, which turned out just fine. I also used some ginger, making it “nuoc cham gung.”

Ingredients:
(makes 2 servings)

Sauce:
1/4 c. soy
2 tbsp water
1 lime
1/2 tsp sriracha
2 cloves garlic
a chunk of ginger (about an inch long, peeled)
3 tbsp brown sugar

Salad:
mixed greens – romaine, spinach, red lettuce, whatever you’ve got is good
2 scallions
1 cucumber
about a half lb of green beans
2 eggs
tofu, cooked (from yesterday’s sesame salad)
noodles – I used round udon, you could use rice noodles though if you have them. You could also experiment with whole wheat.
peanut sauce (see previous post)

Directions:
1. Fill a pot with about 1/2 inch of water, and put in a steamer basket. Fill another pot with water for the noodle, and add the eggs to this pot. Turn both burners to high.

2. Cut the ends off the green beans and half them. Smash the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife, and slip the peel off. Cut the ginger into two or three smaller pieces. Add the green beans, garlic and ginger to the basket, and cover the pot.

3. When the water with the eggs in it comes to a boil, add the noodles. Yes, with the eggs. Living dangerously, I know.

4. While you’re waiting for the noodles to cook, peel the cucumber and cut it into 1/2 inch thick slices. Slice the scallions – cut the green parts into 1/2 inch pieces, and slice the white parts thinly.

5. When the noodles are done, remove them from the water with tongs and drain. Take the pot off the heat and cover, leaving the eggs in the water.

6. The green beans should be done by this point. Take them off the heat, and carefully remove the garlic and ginger from the pot.

7. Mince the garlic and ginger. Add to a small bowl with the soy, water, sugar and lime juice. Mix until the sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust proportions to your liking.

8. Run the eggs under cold water and peel.

9. Arrange everything on a plate – greens, green beans, hard boiled egg, tofu, noodles, and cucumber. Sprinkle scallions over the greens. Drizzle the sauce over everything. Serve with peanut sauce on the side for dipping.

Triple your pleasure, Triple your fun


I have this big binder of recipes. I started it in summer of 2007, right after graduation, when I suddenly had all this time to experiment in the kitchen. I went a little recipe-crazy, taking out tons of cookbooks from the library and photocopying the ones I wanted to try. Of course, quite a few of those original recipes still remain to be attempted.

Today I realized I had tons of salad greens, and will be going out of town for Thanksgiving this week, so I needed to find a use for them. I also had half a package of silken tofu, and other assorted vegetables that needed to be eaten before I leave. I decided to make one of the neglected recipes–Mark Bittman’s Triple Sesame Salad–for lunch (in repentance for the junk I’m going to eat later at the football tailgate. Hook ’em horns!)

Here it is…

The Dressing:
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes

Combine all in blender or food processor and blend away. Easy peasy.

The salad:
1. Cook your protein. I used silken tofu, cut into planks, and pan fried them in a little canola oil. Beware – tofu has a high water content – there will be splashing oil. You should drain the tofu first on paper towels, but if you are using silken as I did, there’s only so much you can do. Mark Bittman suggests scallops, and next time I will follow his lead.

This is my tofu-cooking method – cut the tofu into flat “steaks” –
that way you can actually develop some crust on both sides.

2. Arrange your veggies on a plate. Mixed greens + romaine = good. Cucumber = good. Scallions = good. Basil = good. Tomato and mushroom = pretty, but not so good with the dressing.

3. Top with tofu (or scallops) and drizzle with dressing.

In the immortal words of the waitress at Titaya’s, my favorite Thai restaurant in Austin, “salad, yummy!”