Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our favorite tofu recipe

Once when I was a girl, my mother told me that she hoped there was no food in heaven. I thought that a rather dim view. Who doesn't love sitting around eating delicious food with loved ones? Now I see where she's coming from. The eternal round of planning, shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning can feel like a Sisyphean nightmare. If the kids had their way, the kitchen would be a 24-7 short-order diner.

But after a couple months of frozen tortellini, hot dogs, pizza, and other shortcuts, it's a relief to return to our normal routine of healthy, vegetarian home-cooking. The other night we had tofu. Tofu is a super healthy protein, but I searched for years for a tofu recipe that anyone really liked. This one is simple and tasty--you can do it all in the time it takes to cook rice for a side dish. I've learned that the key to cooking tofu is to drain it well. Since it has no flavor itself, you've got to dry it out so it can absorb the flavors you're giving it.
Tofu Sticks
Cut the block of extra-firm tofu in half horizontally, making two sheets. Then cut along the short end into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange on dishcloth to drain for 30 minutes; blot with paper towel.
On a plate, mix:
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 T cornmeal
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
On a second plate, squirt 2 T mustard. Brush each tofu stick with mustard (don't ponder too deeply the implications of a talented person like yourself spending her time painting mustard onto tofu sticks). Roll tofu in the cornmeal mixture.

Place breaded sticks on a third plate.

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a skillet. When the oil is hot, fry the tofu until golden and crispy on both sides, turning once.Serve with brown rice and salad. The kids like to dip the tofu into ketchup (of course!), but I much prefer this sauce:

Key West Barbecue Sauce

Combine ingredients, bring to boil, then simmer a few minutes:

  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced finely
  • 4 T worcestershire sauce


  1. That sounds uby duber delicious, and Kelly said she is going to make it for me. I do love her so.

  2. I usually hate tofu, but my husband loves it. Maybe I should trust you and go for this recipe.

  3. I MIGHT try this. I haven't gambled on tofu in some time.

  4. Yeah....I don't know if I'm up for it. I'm not a fan of mustard and if that's pretty much the only flavor it's getting... I don't know. I consider myself exotic when I eat couscous, so I don't think I'm up for tofu.

  5. I had a horrible experience with tofu egg rolls recently, but I think my problem was no drainage. I remember loving all the tofu I ate in Hawaii, so perhaps we'll try this one. Thanks for the precise instructions!

  6. I'm with your mom: please no food in heaven. Unless I can just magic it there.

    I haven't ever really had tofu. But I don't really intend to start either.