Monday, June 21, 2010

Orange-Seared Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Tofu is both flavorful and crispy using this method.  It gets that way by first searing flavor into the tofu, then pan frying.  If you're like me and handicapped in the "fry" department, have a good fryer do this.  Something about hot oil scares me, but I do like the crispy results!

To saute, you'll need:
1 saute pan
1 block tofu
2 drops toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp shoyu
1 TBSP mirin
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of onion powder
toasted sesame seeds
orange zest

I always start by slicing the block of tofu into three horizontal pieces, then layering them with towels and topping with a heavy pan.  I let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so.  The towels soak up the water, and this leaves more room for flavorful juices to be absorbed by the tofu.

Turn the burner on medium and add all your ingredients to the pan.  When it starts to simmer, add the tofu, which you've now made into triangles with one diagonal slice, and turn the burner down ever so slightly.  Let the tofu sit there and simmer as the juices reduce.  Flip the tofu when the juices have reduced half way.  Let it sit there and simmer until all the juices have evaporated or been soaked up by the tofu.  Now, it's time to fry.

To fry, you just need a pan and a little peanut oil.  I like to add a several drops of sesame oil, too, for flavor.  Lightly fry the tofu.  The tofu will be crispy on the outside, yet full of orangey nutty flavor on the inside.  You can place it on top of rice, a salad, or make a sandwich with it, as I've done, since I had homemade bread.

I made a nutty dipping sauce to drizzle on top.

Orange Nutty Dipping Sauce:
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp tahini (sesame butter)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tsp mirin
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp water

Whisk together until smooth.  You may have to add more or less water and/or citrus juice to your taste.  Garnish the dish with cilantro and orange zest.

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