I love tofu. Love the creamy texture and the slightly sweet, mild taste. And of course love how beautifully it soaks up whatever lovely flavors you decide to surround it with. I particularly like spicy firm tofu – it’s all about the contrast of heat with the chewy-silkiness of sauteed tofu with the crunch of veggies and peanuts. I crave it.
My go-to version is extremely clean and simple – no sauce, but lots of flavor. I start with paper thin slices of jalapeño, thicker slices of sweet onion, a thinly-sliced clove of garlic, a tablespoon of crushed peanuts, and 3/4-inch cubes of firm tofu, pressed dry on a few paper towels (for one person, half a package). I heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a nonstick pan (wok works great, no surprise), add the garlic and jalapeño, and saute for a few minutes. I loosely push the pepper and garlic off to the side and add the tofu, leaving it untouched for 3-4 minutes so that it browns a bit. I turn the pieces and allow them to brown on a second side. At some point I add a generous sprinkle of salt. In goes the onion for a brief saute (I like it crunchy). Finish with peanuts. (Good with sauteed cabbage as well – add the cabbage after sauteeing the jalapeños and garlic, stir around until wilted, plate the cabbage, then saute the tofu and onions. Add the cabbage back in, toss it all together, season with salt and pepper, enjoy.)
And here’s a fantastic-looking NYTimes recipe, similar idea but with more complex flavors – Crispy Tofu with Shiitakes and Chorizo. Can’t wait to try it, rarrr. In fact, there’s a whole tofu recipe section on the site, check it out.
Happy First Day of Spring! (Freezing rain here, ha, hopefully sunshine where you are!)