This simple dish is so yummy, I’m upset that I didn’t know about it and make it sooner. This one is good for people who don’t like to make a fuss, who like simple dishes that taste fancy, and who are hungry. A couple of the steps take a few minutes, but most of the steps you mix something up and walk away for a bit. Even if you count pressing and waffle-ironing the tofu, it's only six steps!
½ package firm tofu, pressed* and waffle-ironed*
2 ½ TBLSP white vinegar (I use rice vinegar, but any other colorless vinegar will do)
2 ½ TBLSP soy sauce or tamari
1 large clove garlic, crushed
8 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
- Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf in the pot you plan to cook the tofu in, one with a lid.
- After pressing and waffle-ironing the tofu, cut it into bite-sized cubes (or other shape) and place it in with the marinade. Cover it. Refrigeration is optional. Let it sit for 1-3 hours.
- Uncovered, bring the marinade with the tofu still swimming in it to a boil, and then lower the heat, put the cover on, and let it simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Then uncover it and simmer until the sauce is significantly reduced and thickened, perhaps another 10 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf. (You don’t want to chew on a bay leaf. They’re sharp.)
*Press the tofu by slicing the block of tofu lengthwise into1-inch thick slabs. Place the slabs on a plate and cover them with another plate. Weight the upper plate with a can or two, or perhaps a heavy pot. (I have a little device just for pressing tofu, but it’s not really necessary.) This technique pushes water out of the tofu so you can put your own flavoring in. You definitely don’t want to put wet tofu on the waffle iron or you’ll have a big soggy mess. You really have to press the tofu first. You can skip the waffle-ironing, though, if you like a softer mouth feel.
*Waffle-iron the pressed tofu by making sure that the waffle plates are well-lubricated and heated to a high temperature. Place the slabs of pressed tofu between the iron’s plates and waffle ‘em for 10 minutes or so, until they’re firm and slightly golden. This technique makes a wonderful texture and also makes the tofu more receptive to marinades.