Sesame Tofu

Tofu is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. I started experimenting with tofu a year ago and absolutely love it. This is now my standard substitute for any paneer based dishes and in stir fries dishes.

Tofu is made from soybeans, water and a coagulant, or curdling agent. It is high in protein and calcium and well known for its ability to absorb new flavors through spices and marinades. Due to its chameleon-like qualities and nutritional value, tofu, a staple of Asian cuisines for hundreds of years, has recently become popular in Western vegetarian cooking.

From what I have read so far and seen at supermarkets, there are basically 3 types of tofu.

1) Silken Tofu
silken tofu

Silken tofu is almost always called for specifically in a recipe. It is smoother, often used in desserts or spreads, and usually comes in a tetra pack.

2) Tub Tofu

tub tofu
Tub tofu is probably the most common kind you’ll find in the supermarket. It comes in a tub that usually has a bunch of water in it too. Adding to the complexity, it often comes in different densities or firmness levels; typically soft, medium, and extra firm. Even when it’s marked as firm, it’s still pretty soft. I mostly use extra firm in my cooking ventures.

3)Brick Tofu

brick tofu
Brick tofu looks like a brick, and instead of being packed in water, it’ll usually be wrapped in plastic and look almost vacuum packed. This tofu is super-mega-firm, and it’s still easy to break up, but it’s also the easiest to slice or cube without everything falling apart. Typically I use this in Kung-pao recipe and if you are a ‘Pei Wei’ restaurant visitor, you will see this tofu sliced thin in the tofu recipes – especially in their kung pao tofu and vegetable dish which I absolutely adore.

For nutritional information on tofu – read here.

Today  I bring to you a very simple tofu dish – Sesame tofu from my kitchen. Enjoy Smile

Ingredients

1/2 lbs extra-firm tofu- cubed and dry fried. (I used the tub tofu variety- extra firm. Normally even though it is written as extra- firm it is not that firm and can crumble if pressed hard. For real firm and hard tofu – use any brick tofu variety.)

Soy sauce – 1tbsp.

Onion – 1 big nos. – chopped into cubes.

Stir fry vegetables of you choice – about 1 to 2 cups (I used carrots, snap peas, capsicum, broccoli which i had handy).

Hoisin sauce – 1 tbsp.

Rice wine vinegar – 1 tbsp.

Thai chilli sauce – 1 tbsp.

Ginger – finely chopped – 1tbsp.

Sesame oil – 2 tbsp.

Sesame seeds – Toasted – 2tbsp.

Basil leaves – a handful.

Red chilles whole – 2 nos (Optional) (The red whole chillies are optional. I add it to increase the spice level due to my Indian palate. I personally find the thai chilli sauce a little on the sweet side, so love to adjust it with whole red chillies for desired spiceness. You don’t need to break the red chillies. Add them whole. Experiment on what works for you.)

Note: You will get the thai chilli sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, tamari (organic original soy sauce) etc in any Asian or Korean markets.

Method

Drain water from the tofu and keep weight on it to drain as much as it can. Dry fry the tofu to take out as much as possible. You can check this post to get an idea of how to dry fry the tofu.

Roast the sesame seeds in a dry pan(no need of oil) till golden brown and they start popping. Keep aside.

Heat sesame oil in a wok. Once its heated up, add the red whole chillies and ginger and saute for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry for a while. Add the hoisin sauce, thai chilli sauce, soy sauce  and rice wine vinegar. Saute for a few minutes, about 1 to 2 minutes and then add the stir fry vegetables in the order of the longest time to cook vegetable to least cooking time vegetable. Cook the vegetables al dente. Take care not to overcook the vegetables – they should be firm and crunchy to add the right texture to the dish. Add the tofu at this point and toss everything together. Adjust salt as required. Remember that the soy sauce has salt, so adjust accordingly. Cover and let everything cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the roasted sesame seeds, toss everything well.

Switch off the gas and garnish with a handful of torn basil leaves. I heart BASIL ! 🙂 The aroma is just breathtaking.

Serve with jasmine rice or brown rice 🙂 Bon appetit 🙂

Information courtesy : Stayingvegan.com, Wikipedia, Vegetarian about.com. – Thank you guys for all the information.

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