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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Wilkinson

Give Tofu a Chance!

If you were to ask my family, I've always been a carnivore. But in the last year or so, I've slowly cut our animal protein consumption down to a few times per week. If you're an every day meat eater, I'm sure you can't imagine that, and I totally understand. So why? Why would I turn my back on pork chops? I truly feel better and more energized when I don't eat meat every day- particularly red meat. My husband and son are pretty much at the mercy of what I decide to cook, but Ryan admits to feeling better as well. We're not vegetarians. We do eat meat. Just not every day. My ramblings aren't meant to convince you all to join me in my meat-less lifestyle, but to do my part in chipping away the American stigma of "yuck, tofu!"



So what do we eat to fill in the gaps? Lots of legumes, hearty greens, healthy fats like avocado and whole milk cheese. And yes, tofu. I hesitated even using 'tofu' in the title of this post, certain that people would slam their computers shut in disgust (isn't that funny, I assume most have laptops to slam). But I suspect a lot of you have either always wondered what it was like, or never had it prepared to crispy, crunchy perfection. Don't be intimidated! When treated like a queen, tofu will behave as such.


Although thought to be created on accident for the first time over 2,000 years ago, tofu became and remains a staple protein in Asian cultures. That's almost 5 billion people, eating tofu, for 2,000 years. Still not convinced? It actually resembles a fresh cheese in both texture and the way it's made. Ok, maybe I'm pandering with the cheese comment, because I'm still worried you're about to give up on me. Please don't! I have many meaty recipes planned for future posts.


So if you're one of the few dozen people who subscribed yesterday (thank you by the way! I'm so happy to have you!) who wants to give tofu a chance, this recipe is for you. If you follow the directions below, you'll end up with a very transformed and approachable version of this polarizing protein.


INGREDIENTS:

-7 oz firm or extra firm tofu

-1/4 cup cornstarch

-1/4 cup all-purpose flour (omit and double cornstarch for gluten free)

-1/2 tsp ground ginger

-1/2 tsp paprika

-2 T sesame or canola oil

For the sauce:

-1/4 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos

-2 T seasoned rice vinegar

-2 T honey (reduce to 1 T if using coconut aminos)

-1/4 cup vegetable broth

-1 T grated garlic

-1 tsp grated ginger

-1 T cornstarch

-Sriracha to taste (optional)


DIRECTIONS:


The tofu will come in a 14 oz block, in liquid*. Pour the liquid into a resealable container, and cut the block in half. Place one half in the container with the liquid for later use. Turn the second block on it's side, and slice it lengthwise, leaving you with two equal slices. Lay one or two paper towels on top of the slices, and gently press to soak up as much liquid as possible. Do this a few times.


Grab another resealable container, and line it with more paper towels (eek I know, a lot of paper use here...forgive me trees!). Lay the tofu slices on top of the paper towels, and cover with a few more. Seal the container, and place in fridge to dry for at least 30 minutes- The more moisture you can remove, the crispier your cubes will be.


Whisk together the cornstarch, flour, ground ginger and paprika in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.


While the tofu dries, work on the sauce. In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk all ingredients together. If using coconut aminos, reduce honey to 1 tablespoon.

Pour into a saucepan, and cook on low until thickened and bubbling. Rinse out the same bowl you used to mix, and pour thickened sauce back in (fewer dishes!). Set sauce aside for later.


Remove dried tofu from the fridge, and cut into ~1/2" x 1/2" cubes. Toss in seasoned flour and cornstarch mixture. Line a drying rack or plate with a paper towel.


Wipe out the pan you used for the sauce, and heat 2 tablespoons of sesame or canola oil until shimmering. When hot, fry floured tofu cubes until golden brown on all sides. Don't be afraid to turn the heat up! When golden, remove from oil, and lay on drying rack to drain.


Wipe out that pan again, and pour in your sauce to warm on low. Right before serving, toss the tofu in the sauce, and serve over brown rice and steamed broccoli.


Sticky Tofu

 




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