I stopped by the store on the way home from preschool and picked up some firm silken tofu (I thought that was an oxymoron, but that's what the package said). I did a small amount of research online for marinade ideas and unearthed the bok choy from the veggie bin and got started.
Elspeth was tentative at first but when I gave her my fork and the bowl, she shoveled in quite a bit of the bok choy. She wasn't as keen on the tofu, but did eat a couple of bites of that.
I think both my marinade and my tofu marinating technique need some adjustment, but this wasn't a bad first stab at it. I need to look at Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty. She had a dipping sauce for dumplings (I think it was originally dumplings--we stuffed cabbage leaves) that might work well for a tofu marinade. Another thing to try would be to marinade and cook the tofu, but use peanut sauce for garnish instead of more marinade. I already worked harder during Elspeth's nap than I intended, or I would have whipped some up.
I took the tofu 'pressing' method from Elizabeth Andoh's gorgeous Washoku cookbook (it's so sad that I haven't managed to make much from this book) and the 'dry frying' method from the Internet http://hubpages.com/hub/How_to_Cook_Tofu_Like_the_Pros.
1 block firm silken, firm, or extra firm tofu
1/4 c unsalted chicken stock (I had frozen some homemade stock in babycubes for just this type of application--it would be even nicer with stock infused with ginger and scallion) Obviously, you'd need to use vegetable stock to make this dish vegetarian--veg stock could also be infused with ginger and scallion to up the Asian flavor
2 TBSP Japanese soy sauce (it would be fun to experiment with different types)
2 TBSP mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp brown sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp ground ginger (fresh would be way better, but I didn't have any on hand)
1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I omitted these but would have used them if making only for adults)
1 large bunch bok choy or other green
- Drain the block of tofu. To use Andoh's quick pressing method, blot the tofu with a paper towel. Wrap another paper towel around the tofu and put on a microwave-safe plate. Cook in the microwave on High power for 30 seconds. She says that a lot of liquid should have come out, but I didn't get too much liquid. Repeat with a new paper towel a couple of times until the tofu feels quite a bit firmer. Another method if you have more time is to press the tofu between two plates, weighting the top with some canned goods or a cast-iron skillet. Leave for 30 minutes, draining liquid once if the plate is really full.
- Once the tofu has been pressed, cut into about 16 pieces (I cut horizontally, then into quarters, then those quarters are cut diagonally).
- Place tofu pieces in a single layer in a dish (with sides)
- Mix together the remaining ingredients except the bok choy. Note that when I made this today, I used Melissa Ray Davis' dry fry method as written and did not marinade the tofu before cooking. I think I would next time, so that's what I will write down here.
- Pour 2/3 of the marinade over the tofu in the dish and let sit for 15 minutes; turn and marinate for another 15 minutes. If marinating longer, you should put the tofu in the fridge.
- While the tofu is marinating, clean and chop the bok choy. If you're using adult bok choy (not baby), I like to separate the stems and leaves and cook the stems first. Place stems in a microwave safe bowl with 1 tsp water and cover with a lid. Cook for 2 minutes in the microwave. Add the leaves, stir together, and cook another 1-2 minutes in the microwave. Remove from microwave, stir, and if not quite done, cover with the lid again for a few minutes. If the bok choy is done, stir in the remaining 1/3 marinade and set aside while cooking the tofu
- Place a single layer of tofu triangles in a Teflon pan with no oil and heat to medium (I had retired mine, but it works well at medium heat in this application)
- Let the tofu cook on one side without moving it around until it develops a nice crust. Not sure if it'll develop a crust when marinated, but I'm guessing the flavor will be nicer than when cooking it unmarinated.
- Turn tofu over and repeat
- Remove from pan and serve with the bok choy. I'm sure this would also be tasty over brown rice