This is a new favorite in our house- and I found the recipe when cleaning out some old files. It’s from Joe Kwon’s Taste on Tour blog and while I don’t normally pay much attention to musicians, he and I have two things in common: we both live in Durham and we both are trying to recreate our mothers’ Korean cooking.
Anyway, I’ve done fried tofu before, and this is a sort of variation on fried tofu. The difference is that instead of pouring seasoning over it, you baste warm tofu. The result is a crisp, savory outside with a soft, slightly bland inside. It’s a great combination, and works well with all sorts of dishes requiring a nice bit of savory protein that isn’t beans or TVP.
Braised Tofu (adapted from Joe Kwon)
- 1 block tofu (I like Trader Joe’s extra firm)
- 3 tb soy sauce
- 1 tb sesame oil (dark roasted is preferred)
- 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
toasted sesame seeds
- Press tofu down under a brick (I usually sandwich tofu between two plates and put a foil-covered brick on top of the plate) for at least 30 minutes.
- Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and sriracha, if using. Set aside.
- Discard water from tofu and cut tofu in triangles. What I do is place tofu on the cutting board the same way it looks in the box, and move my knife horizontally (parallell to tofu and cutting surface) through the middle of tofu. Keeping the tofu together, I make a cross cut (i.e. make a cross through middle of all sides), keeping tofu together in a block at all times. You should have 8 rectangles, and if you cut diagonally, you will have 16 triangles. Or you can ignore me and figure out on your own- it’s an interesting spatial exercise 🙂
- Heat 3 TB canola oil in a cast iron pan under med-high heat. Fry tofu on all sides, and if you want to amuse people, you can try to make sure they are all frying in same direction. Also, tofu will spray hot oil everywhere- you may want to use a splatter guard or avoid putting your face too close to the pan.
- When each piece of tofu is fried, discard or pour out the hot oil, lower temperature to med-low, and put tofu back, stacking them into triangular rows as in Joe Kwon’s recipe. Pour soy sauce mixture over it and spoon up any sauce in the pan and pour over tofu; repeat as necessary until all soy sauce has been more or less absorbed (there should be less fluid as time goes on). It’s like basting a turkey.
- Serve with scallions and sesame seeds, if desired. You can use this on top of salads, greens, rice, etc.