I know most people have a funny relationship with tofu; many have tried it once or twice and decided they don’t care for the texture, or say it’s too bland, or just won’t try it at all. But I happen to love it. I love it in miso soup, I love it bar-b-qued, fried, or sautéed. I even love the really soft smooth texture found in the silken variety.
But my favorite way to prepare tofu is to dry it out a bit, marinate it, and bake it. When extra firm tofu is baked, it becomes crispy on the outside and more closely resembles the texture of meat. Paired with soft white rice and crunchy vegetables in a sweet-salty, slightly thick sauce, and you have what I would consider the perfect healthy meal.
Tofu Stir Fry
- 1 package (14 ounces) extra firm tofu
- 2 cups broccoli or broccoli raab, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped finely
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce + 2 Tbsp
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
Ahead of time, remove tofu from packaging and drain liquid. Place tofu into a shallow dish and put a plate on top with something slightly heavy on top of that (to squeeze out excess liquid). Every 15 minutes or so, pour off the liquid (I usually allow it to rest like this for an hour while I do other things around the kitchen, like prep the sauce and chop the veggies, do dishes, etc).
Prepare the tofu marinade while the tofu drains. Combine 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger. Whisk together in a bowl and set aside.
Cut the tofu into 2-inch rectangles, then toss with marinade. Allow tofu to marinate for 20 minutes, up to an hour at room temperature. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking oil, then place marinated tofu onto the tray, reserving liquid. Bake tofu for 20 – 25 minutes, flipping halfway through (I just moved it around with a wooden spatula to ensure even baking).
To make sauce, add to reserved liquid 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, and 1 Tbsp corn starch. Whisk until well incorporated.
Next, chop all veggies. Heat remaining sesame oil in a large skillet or wok. Add to pan all the veggies and toss with the sesame oil. Cover and cook a couple of minutes, until veggies are tender but still crisp and bright. Uncover and add sauce, stirring to coat.
Add tofu just before serving, or feel free to keep it all separate and let it come together individually- my kids can be picky and would rather their veggies stay separate from their rice and tofu… but I like the good stuff all mixed up! Emil just eats the tofu hand-over-fist, so I guess it’s a personal preference. Enjoy!