The last time I tried tofu, I was about nineteen and had no idea how to cook. It was pretty bad. Gelatinous, tasteless, the works. I took two bites, threw it out, and had smoked sprats on toast for dinner.
Fuckin’ tofu, man.
This time I was determined to make it work better. I mean, there are billions of people who’ve been eating this stuff for hundreds of years. There are even people who voluntarily order it at restaurants. It can’t be as bad as I remember it.
So I looked up every tip I could find to make the texture better. Overnight freezing? Check. Leaving it on a cooling rack with a stack of cookbooks on top? Check. Dry-frying? Check.
And you know what? It was good. For real.
The sauce was nothing super fancy, just orange marmalade and soy sauce and a fuck-ton of chopped ginger, and the veggies were just frozen broccoli and some green onion, but the texture was actually fine, and the taste blended with the sauce, and it was all just very pleasant. Tofu and me, I think we’re gonna be just fine.
Everybody liked it!
Well, not the two-year-old. She didn’t try it. But that’s not really abnormal, and anyway, the four-year-old loved it. Husband also liked it. He declared the unsauced tofu to be boring and the sauce-covered tofu to be “pretty good.” He and the older kid both had two big helpings. So, victory.
Gingery Tofu with Broccoli
1 pkg extra firm tofu
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup orange marmalade
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 ½ tablespoons chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 big bunch green onion, chopped
1 bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed
For optimal firmness, freeze and thaw the tofu before proceeding, then press the tofu by sandwiching it between paper towels and putting something really heavy on top.
Slice the tofu as thin as you can, then cut it into adorable little triangles. Or rectangles or squares or trapezoids or whatever you want, really. Then put them in a nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat. No oil, no nothing. Cook on both sides until firm and light brown. You’ll probably need to do this in two or three batches.
Once the tofu is all done, add the oil to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger, and green onions and cook until they smell amazing (about two minutes). Add the soy sauce and marmalade and stir it around until it gets bubbly. If you want the sauce thicker, you can mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water and add it to the sauce now.
Put the tofu and the thawed broccoli in the sauce. Simmer for a minute or two until everything is nice and warm, and serve over rice.