Tofu is one of those things that I probably don’t use as much as I should. I hate the silken stuff with an aggressive passion (so gross) so I only really use the extra firm version, and for some reason it just slips my mind a lot of the time – until I’m cooking something like the phenomenal Vegan Steamed Bao Buns that I made a few weeks ago. For these, tofu is perfect.
Of course, the best thing about tofu is its ability to take on flavours from other ingredients. Marinated tofu one of the most delicious and cheapest ways to hulk up on vegan protein sources, and it can be used in a whole variety of cuisines. As Bao buns are a mainstay of Taiwanese and other Asian diets, the tofu to go inside them needed to be thick with an Asian flavour. Teriyaki was just what they needed.
I absolutely love the taste of a nice, deep, layered teriyaki sauce. Vinegar and soy sauce are a must, but I like the zesty tang of fresh ginger as well as the sweetness of agave in there too. Me being me, I added an extra kick with some hot sauce (the wonderful Slimy Doom from my friend Andy K) and the whole thing was just wonderful.
You can make up a tofu marinade in the morning, leave it marinading throughout the day, then quickly fry them when you get home to go on any sort of Asian meal; noodles, rice dishes, salads – whatever you fancy. If you’re making them for the Bao buns though, you’re in for a real treat.
(Serves 2-4 people as part of a meal)
200g extra firm tofu
2 tbsps dark soy sauce (use GF soy sauce if you need to)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
a dash of hot sauce – optional
vegetable oil for frying
Cut tofu into 1/2-inch pieces or your desired size
Cut into even triangles
Stir all the marinade ingredients together
Pour the marinade over the tofu and leave for 2-3 hours, turning the tofu from time to time
Remove from the marinade and heat a little oil in a heavy frying pan (not too much)
Fry in a heavy skillet until tofu is crispy, then flip and cook for the same amount of time on the other side
Add the leftover marinade to the pan and let it burn off and sear onto the tofu
If you’re using these to stuff into Bao buns, don’t forget to add in some greens and either a Japanese-inspired slaw or the celeriac remoulade recipe coming this week. The two textures play off beautifully against the sticky thickness of the tofu.
And don’t let me stop you from just munching of teriyaki tofu as a snack. We’ve all been there before!