Friday, March 19, 2010

Orange Spiced Tofu (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Tofu is one of those meat alternatives, made from the soy bean that is so versatile because it absorbs the flavors of anything it's marinated in. The trick with tofu is to buy the right one suitable for the dish you are preparing, press out the water and marinate it. Once you have all those three steps down, you are sure to make a fabulous tofu dish.

Cooking Tips to Make Tofu Taste Good

Tofu needs to be "pressed"
Tofu is packed in water, and it's a lot like a sponge – if you don't press out the old water you can't get any new flavors in. This is really easy – it just takes some advanced planning. Here's the break-down (this assumes the use of extra-firm, water-packed tofu, not the silken kind in the little boxes):
       1      Slice open the package and drain out the water. Cut the block into however many slices you want.
       2      Lay a dish towel on a cookie sheet or tray; place some paper towels on top of that.
       3      Spread the slices of tofu out in a single layer on top of the towels. Put more paper towels and another dish towel on top of that.
       4      Set some heavy objects on top, like this cookbook.
       5      Leave it alone for at least 30 minutes, but preferably a couple hours. You can leave it like this all day or night if you put it in the fridge. If you're really in a hurry, you can apply some "manual pressure" and cut back the time to 15 minutes, but it's not going to be quite as awesome.
       6      Uncover; leave as "tofu steaks" or cut into cubes, marinate & cook according to your recipe.
Some other things to keep in mind:
Tofu loves being marinated
If you don't marinate it, it will taste like nothing.
Tofu hates marinades containing oil
Tofu has a lot of water in it, even after you press it, and oil and water don't mix. Using oil in your marinade will actually create an oil slick on the tofu and the flavors will never sink in.
Don't forget about broiling, grilling & grill pans
Tofu is great on the grill, in a grill pan and under the broiler. Just marinate it, spray your grill or pan with a little canola oil spray to prevent sticking, and cook until you get nice grill marks or crispy edges (about 7 minutes per side – can be less on a scorching-hot grill).
and now for the recipe....
Orange Spiced Tofu                        

The citrusy flavor along with the spices creates a flavor that is both complex and exciting where East meets West. This dish is such a snap to prepare and can be eaten at room temperature.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 (16 ounce) package of firm tofu (sliced into 16 pieces and prepared according to above directions on pressing)
Non- Stick cooking spray
3 tablespoons of Duck sauce
5 tablespoons of orange juice
¼ teaspoon each of salt, cumin, garlic powder, turmeric, ginger powder & paprika, combined for seasoning mixture
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

                        1      In a separate bowl , mix duck sauce with orange juice and seasonings.
                        2      Place tofu in a medium size rectangular dish. Pour marinade over tofu and refrigerate for at least an hour.
                        3      In a large frying pan over medium high flame, spray non-stick cooking spray.
                       4      Remove tofu with a flat slotted spoon from marinade and sear tofu slices for 4 minutes on each side. There should be slight browning.
                        5      In a separate small pot under a medium flame, bring reserved marinade to boil. Once boiling pour remaining marinade over the tofu slices and serve with sprinkled toasted sesame seeds.
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