Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spicy Korean Tofu

One day not long ago, I ate mostly carbs. A sugary yogurt for breakfast, leftover noodle casserole for lunch. Waffles with maple bacon syrup for dinner. The next day, I craved protein big time. Breakfast was eggs, and dinner involved tofu.

There were any number of proteins in the freezer: a skirt steak; sausages; chicken thighs. But I wanted something easy. You may be thinking, "How is tofu easy? It takes some work to make that stuff taste like anything!" Hey--some of us like tofu in its original bland state. It's soft and soothing. But yeah, I wanted something a bit more flavorful for dinner. And since tofu soaks up flavor like a sponge, it is indeed easy to make delicious.

I made a simple glaze with the spicy Korean condiment, gochujang, and brushed it onto thinly-sliced tofu that I blasted in a hot oven. The heat evaporated some of the tofu's moisture and even gave it a slightly chewy texture. The sauce gave it a flavorful kick. And a pile of roasted broccoli--cooked at the same time--added a necessary bit of green and garlic.

Baked Korean Tofu

1 package of extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons gochujang
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Sesame seeds
Chopped scallions

Cut the tofu crosswise into ten slices. Arrange them in one layer on a paper towel-lined plate or baking pan. Cover with another piece of paper and press down lightly to absorb some of the liquid in the tofu. Replace both layers of towels and refrigerate tofu until ready to use.

Combine gochujang, sesame oil, soy, honey, and vinegar in a bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place tofu in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed lightly with release spray. Brush some of the sauce onto the top side of the tofu and place the tray in the oven. Bake for 7-8 minutes, remove tray from oven, and turn tofu pieces with tongs. Brush other side with the sauce and replace in the oven for another 8 minutes or so. Remove tray from oven and turn pieces again. Turn oven up to broil and broil tofu for 3-4 minutes per side, until edges start to get crusty.

Serve with garnished with sesame seeds and scallions, and a bit of sauce on the side.

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