Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tofu Steaks

Last night, Jeff made tofu steaks. It's a great, healthy, cheap recipe to make when you're not in the mood to cook something elaborate. It's vegetarian fast food.

To make the recipe, you'll need a block of extra firm tofu, some olive or vegetable oil, some soy sauce plus some other optional flavorings, such as honey, Worcestershire, mustard and/or hot pepper sauce. A really good non-stick pan is also essential.

1. It's best to start by pressing the tofu to get some of the water out. Just place the tofu between two plates, laying a (small) weight on the top plate. (If your weight is too heavy your tofu will split). Leave it for about twenty minutes. If I'm in a real hurry I sometimes skip this step with okay results, but pressing it gets the water out and allows the tofu to absorb more flavors, giving it a wonderful, chewy texture when it's cooked.

2. Cut the tofu into rectangles, or "steaks." A one-pound block of tofu usually cuts up into about eight steaks, about 2.5 by 4 inches.

3. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in your pan over medium-low heat, and once it's hot, lay your steaks in it and slowly sautee them til golden, then flip the steaks and repeat (about 6 minutes per side on medium heat).

4. While those are cooking, prepare your sauce. Use two tablespoons of soy sauce as a base, and add other flavorings as desired. We usually like a mixture of salty sweet sour and spicy: the soy plus honey, a few dashes of vinegar, and Trappey's red bull sauce but variations with Worcestershire, five spice, mustard and ginger have all turned out great. In all you should have about a quarter cup of sauce.

5. When the steaks are good and golden, pour the sauce over them and shake the pan to coat. The sauce will quickly turn into a glaze. Turn the steaks in the glaze a bit to cover.

That's it. You're done. Serve the steaks with a side of steamed vegetables. Or wrap them in toasted tortillas and top them with lettuce, tomatoes, sliced pickles and Dijon mustard.

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