July 8, 2010
Tofu for Two
I guess I'm on a roll here. This is yet another dish that gets made over and over. I know - what? Didn't she say she doesn't do this? Yes, yes I did. And mostly, I don't. But everyone has their classics, their fall backs and this has become one of mine. It's my go-to tofu (ha!) recipe. People, it's just so darn easy to make. You barely bat an eyelash and it's ready! It's about as complicated as gently simmering tofu and stirring a few ingredients together. Okay, you have to chop a few green onion and mince some garlic, but I promise that's as labor intensive as it gets.
It's salty, nutty and oh so spicy, but in the best of ways. The silken tofu, with it's almost custard texture, soothes the heat a for a moment, just a quick moment before you're reaching for another bite and more heat. It's addictive. And there's just something about eating spicy food when it's hot out. Whether it's the temporary distraction from the environment, or the sweat that's acting to cool you, spicy and hot go together like two peas in a pod. Even if it's not hot where you are right now (*ahem* San Diego, I'm looking at you), that's fine too. The spice will work to warm you from the inside out.
That tangle of green behind the tofu? I julienned a good sized zucchini into spaghetti like strings and dressed them in a bit of rice vinegar and the tiniest pinch of sugar to have a cooling salad to calm the fire in my mouth. Something more pickled would be fantastic alongside as well.
Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet, March 2009
I substituted regular red pepper flakes for Korean ones since that's what I have on had (although, truth be told, I should go buy the Korean hot red pepper flakes since I make this pretty often). I can't attest to the flavor difference, but it's still mighty tasty this way - spicy too! Also, feel free to sub out one tablespoon of the soy sauce for water or broth, it cuts out a ton of sodium without really impacting the flavor. As far as serving options go I've done it a number of ways. With a cucumber salad and sticky rice. With soba noodles and sauteed savoy cabbage and mushrooms. It's all good. I like to spoon the sauce over the tofu after it's on my dinner plate so that it mixes with everything.
1 14-ounce package silken tofu
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped scallion
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Carefully rinse tofu, then cover with cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then keep warm, covered, over very low heat.
Meanwhile, mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Stir together with remaining ingredients.
Just before serving, carefully lift tofu from saucepan with a large spatula and drain on paper towels. Gently pat dry, then transfer to a small plate. Spoon some sauce over tofu and serve warm.