January 16, 2009

Marinated and Grilled Tofu

I really like tofu... when it's done well. Tofu, although a protein, has similarities to grains and pastas in that it works like a canvas for a variety of flavors. Its own flavor is very mild, which allows it to soak up the flavors of what it is paired with. Unlike grains, however, the meaty texture of tofu lets it act as the centerpiece of a dish because provides a heartiness.

One of my favorite ways to eat tofu is marinated and grilled, but it must must must have those grill marks because not only do they make the dish rather aesthetically pleasing but they also add a smokiness that's quite satisfying. I marinated the tofu in a spicy asian inspired marinade because it is so damn cold here in St. Louis right now. "Feels like -13 degrees." You have got to be kidding me.

Marinated and Grilled Tofu
*I paired mine with cooked frozen peas and quinoa for a quick balanced meal but if you have more time, tofu works very well with bok choy or broccoli and brown rice or Chinese noodles with soy sauce and sesame oil.

Covers 9- 12 squares tofu (use a firm or extra firm variety- I used firm)

1 1/2 tsp siracha
2- 3 tsps madras curry powder
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cayanne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Cut the tofu into 1/2- 3/4 inch thick squares. Mix all ingredients for marinade in a small bowl or ramekin. Lay tofu squares out along a small slightly indented serving dish or plate. Taste the marinade to make sure you do not need to adjust the spices. Pour marinade evenly over the plate of tofu.

Take out a grill pan and spray with olive oil or use 2- 3 teaspoons to grease the entire pan. Turn on the heat to medium high and allow the pan to heat up (heating the pan before placing in the tofu helps create the sear marks). Flip tofu to make sure it is evenly coated.

Once the pan is heated, put tofu in and grill for about 8 minutes of each side. Grilling time varies depending on the kind of tofu you are using, your grill pan as well as your stove. It is easy to check if a side is done by lifting up the edge to see if grill marks are present.

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