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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Asian Lemon Tofu for One

You’ll need more pans and bowls than usual for one of my recipes, but this dish is well worth the extra washing up. This is a good recipe to make sure that you’ve read ahead and sliced or measured everything before you turn the heat on.

I made the rice and green beans shown in the picture ahead of time and just microwaved ‘em hot once the tofu was fried and cooling its heels on paper towels. But if you have your own sous chef and enough kitchen space, you can probably do it all at once. Be careful—you might have to make extra and share!

6 ounces of extra firm tofu (about half a tub, or perhaps a cup of tofu)
¾ teaspoon flax seed meal
1 teaspoon water
½ cup vegetable oil, plus 1 TBLSP, divided
2 TBLSP sugar
1/3 cup water (or vegetable broth)
5 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry sherry (or mirin)
1 teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce)
2 pinches of salt, divided
A pinch of baking powder
1 TBLSP vegetable oil
1/3 lemon, sliced thinly

  1. Press the tofu for 15 minutes between two plates with a couple of heavy cans on top. (Protect your surfaces by putting it on a towel or a baking tray.)
  2. Heat the waffle iron (yes, the waffle iron) until the light goes off. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. 
  3. Slice the pressed tofu into ½-inch thick slabs, place in a single layer on the waffle iron plate, and close the lid. Your mileage may vary, but it took mine about 7 minutes to be cooked into a firm and yummy waffle-shaped slab of tofu. When you can pick it up and it’s pretty firm when you poke it, and it’s just starting to brown, it’s done. Cut the tofu waffles into bite-sized shapes.
  4. While the tofu is waffling around in there, combine the flax seed meal with water in a small bowl. Leave it to sit while you mix up the marinade.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Then add 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch and the lemon juice to it and give it a stir. You might need a whisk to get it smooth. No lumps! Now add in the sherry/mirin, tamari, and a pinch of salt. This is the marinade.
  6. In a bowl large enough to hold the tofu pieces, combine 4 teaspoons of the cornstarch, a pinch of salt, and the baking powder. Stir in the flaxseed “egg” to make a nice batter. You might need to add water to make it more fluid. It should be a thin paste—a batter.
  7. Heave the tofu pieces into the batter and move them around enough to know that everything is well coated.
  8. In a heavy skillet, heat ½ cup of the vegetable oil. Fry the tofu pieces until golden, turning occasionally. They will be inclined to stick together, so have a Separation Plan in place (I used a second utensil). Drain on paper towels or newspaper. Place lovingly on your serving plate, on a bed of rice, perhaps, or lettuce.
  9. In a small non-stick skillet or saucepan, stir fry the lemon slices in 1 TBLSP of the oil for about 30 seconds. Add the marinade and continue stirring the lemon slices for three minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  10. Pour the sauce over the prepared tofu.

If you like a little heat, toss some pepper flakes into the sauce as you’re cooking it up. I can’t have red pepper, but black pepper is a nice addition too.

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