Any kind of tofu will work for this recipe but I prefer to use extra firm tofu because I am working with large pieces of thinly sliced tofu.
Extra firm tofu has a lower water content than other forms of tofu therefore has a much firmer texture and holds up much better in cooking.
Regular tofu has a higher water content a smoother texture but falls apart more easily during cooking.
If you are using regular or soft tofu, place it in a colander (put a plate under to catch dripping) to drain overnight in the fridge or wrap in layers of clean kitchen towels (refrigerate until ready to use). Both of these methods will reduce the water content and give the tofu a firmer texture.
Cut tofu into about ¼ inch thick slices and place single layer in a baking dish.
Pour soy sauce over sliced tofu. (This is where you can be creative and add spices and herbs to your taste. I personally prefer to use soy sauce only because I cook for the freezer also. This becomes a blank canvas that I can later jazz up as the mood strikes me.)
You can brown the tofu right away or marinate for whatever time you have even overnight in the refrigerator. The longer the tofu marinates the more flavorful it becomes.
Drain marinated tofu. Pat dry with paper towel and brown. A non-stick frying pan or a well seasoned cast iron pan works best as tofu tends to stick.
This is what I call tofu cutlets. At this point you can use the cutlets as is, slice into strips, dice, ….. I sometime serve the cutlets as is with a sauce, a green salad and steamed potato. Other times I would slice them into strips and do a stir-fry like the recipe below.
As luck would have it, I came across this Mushroom and Onion Steak Sauce on Charles’ blog, FiveEuroFood.com, (click on the link for the recipe) that I immediately recognized as the perfect sauce for my tofu cutlets. I quickly dashed off an e-mail to Charles asking permission to link his recipe and he graciously said yes. Thank you Charles.
These tofu cutlets freeze well.
Hoisin Tofu with Nuts & 3 Peppers
1 pound extra firm tofu cut into about ¼ inch thick slices and place single layer in a baking dish
2 tablespoons soy sauce, regular, mushroom dark (see NOTE) or gluten free
Pour soy sauce over sliced tofu, turn each slice to evenly coat both sides. Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated. This is the marinated tofu. Drain and pat dry with paper towel before cooking.
2 – 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce or to taste
½ – ¾ cup broth or water
1½ tablespoons cornstatch
Combine the above 3 ingredients in a small bowl. This is the sauce.
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 medium onion, peeled cut lengthwise into strips
unsalted roasted nuts
½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
3 – 4 tablespoons oil or as needed
cilantro, parsley or sliced scallion for garnish
1. Add 2 tablespoons oil to preheated non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron frying pan. Heat to near smoking. Add tofu. Allow to brown. Turn and brown the other side. Remove to a clean plate. When cool enough to handle, cut into strips.
2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to frying pan, if needed. Add peppers and onions. Stir-fry until green pepper turns bright green. Add tofu and mix well.
3. Give sauce a good stir and add to frying pan. Mix well. When sauce becomes translucent, stir in nuts, adjust taste, remove to a serving platter and garnish. Serve with rice or over pasta.
NOTE: Mushroom dark soy sauce will give the marinated tofu a darker color. It contains molasses and will burn more easily therefore a bit more attention is needed during browning.
Substitute: 1 – 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 1 – 2 teaspoons ketchup for the hoisin sauce
Substitute: 1 – 2 tablespoons oyster sauce for the hoisin sauce
Add: Asian chili sauce or fresh chili peppers to taste
Copyright © by Norma Chang
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