Wasabi-Soy Glazed Tofu Recipe

I wish I could say that I was a master of tofu recipes, a guru of soybean curd cookery.

And I wish I could also say that I loved tofu every time I ate it, in every permutation.

And while there are so many different things you can do with it—burgers! stir-fries! vegan cheesecakes!—most all of these things are difficult to do well, at home.  Ever had General Tso’s Tofu at a Chinese restaurant and wished you could cook tofu like that at home?  Yeah, me too.

It helps, of course, to like the taste of tofu.  I’m talking plain tofu, straight out of its watery plastic package and eaten raw.  My cousin and I used to make sandwiches with it—a slab of tofu on whole-grain bread topped with a thick red slice of tomato and a generous drizzle of Newman’s honey mustard dressing—and I remember them being very satisfying sandwiches.  Of course the dressing helped quite a bit.

And then there’s these tofu burgers with ginger sauce that I never grow tired of, and which wouldn’t be half as wonderful without the ginger sauce.

Tofu, I guess I’m trying to say, is the ‘boneless-skinless-chicken-breast’ of the vegetarian world—a blank but unforgiving slate.

And I wish I wish I wish there were something quick and simple and delicious you could do with it, without having to marinate it overnight or deep-fry it or dip it in batter and bathe it in sauce.  (Oh! Besides making a thai curry, that is.)

I’m still on a quest for that elusive, perfect tofu recipe, but in the meantime this one comes close.

It’s a riff on the soba noodle salad dressing that is oh-so-delicious—but minus the oil and used as a marinade instead and cooked down in the pan.

If you don’t like tofu, you’re probably not going to like this I’m afraid to say, because in the end it’s still fairly recognizable as tofu—albeit a jazzier, tastier version of its plain ol’ little self.

Wasabi Soy Glazed Tofu Recipe
1 package extra-firm tofu (not silken), drained and patted dry
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2-4 Tablespoons wasabi (optional, depending on your spiciness preference)
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce (or Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce)
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 Tablespoons vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons (~6-8 cloves) garlic, finely minced
Oil for sautéing

Slice the tofu into ¾ inch thick squares.  Place them on paper towels and press out as much of the liquid as possible.

Whisk together all the other ingredients (except oil) until well-mixed.

Place the tofu in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it.  Let it marinate at least 30 minutes, longer if you have the time (or even overnight if you can plan ahead), flipping the tofu over occasionally so it’s evenly coated.

Heat about 2 Tablespoons oil in a skillet* over medium heat.  Add tofu and let cook, 3-4 minutes or until browned.  Flip tofu slices over and add more oil if needed.  Pour any leftover marinade over the tofu and let it cook down until thickened.  Serve over rice with cooked greens or a salad, or cut into cubes and tossed with cooked green beans and toasted sunflower seeds.

*I’d recommend a non-stick pan here, otherwise it will be a bitch to clean.

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