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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Apricot-Glazed Fried Tofu for One

If you’re like me and you’re allergic to tomatoes but you sometimes have a hankering for barbecue sauce, you’re going to be happy about this recipe. Try it on soft cauliflower and crunchy fried tofu, and you may find that your world has been rocked.

For Serving:
Brown or white rice, or noodles
½ block firm tofu
½ cup cauliflower florets
1 small handful of green beans, cut to bite-sized
For the Sauce:
3 TBLSP apricot preserves
2 TBLSP miso (yellow or white)
2 TBLSP rice vinegar
2 TBLSP soy sauce or tamari
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 apricot, pitted and sliced thinly
For the Frying:
¾ teaspoon flax seed meal
1 teaspoon water
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of baking powder
Oil for frying

Deal with the Tofu:
  1. Heat the waffle iron. Yes, the waffle iron. Don’t question! Just do it!
  2. Slice the block of tofu in half so that you have slabs about 1-inch thick. Press the slabs between two plates with a couple of cans on top of them for 15 minutes or so to get the moisture out.
  3. Lubricate your waffle iron even if it’s a non-stick version (I use pan spray on the smooth side of the plate, but you can use the waffle side too). Set the slabs of tofu in there and close the waffle iron up. Mine takes about 15 minutes to create a nice golden-brown crust on both sides. Watch it, opening it up periodically to see if it’s enjoying its sojourn.

Steam the Veggies:
  1. Meanwhile, place the florets and string beans in your steamer over boiling water and get your rice or noodles cooking.

It’s also time to get the sauce going. You’ll also want to get your rice or noodles going at this time too.
Make the Sauce:
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the apricot preserves, miso, vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic and ginger powders. Once it’s well combined, toss in the apricot pieces.
  2. Cook over a gentle heat until it’s thickened and reduced a little bit.
  3. Set aside.

Fry the Tofu:
  1. In a tiny bowl, combine the flax and water and set aside to become a gooey mess.
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold the tofu, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. By the time you’ve got that stirred up, the flax should be gloppy, so add that in too.
  3. Stir it together. If it’s too thick (which is likely), add a little more water until it’s about the consistency of pancake batter.
  4. Cut the ironed tofu into 1-inch cubes. Some of it will crumble. That’s okay.
  5. Plop the tofu into the batter and roll it gently around until it’s nicely coated.
  6. In a skillet, heat about ¼-inch of oil (I use canola oil, but you use whatever you like) until it shimmers.
  7. Drop the tofu cubes into the oil one at a time. Give them some space or they will stick to one another. 
  8. When the bottoms are golden, flip them over. You might need to do four sides or six, depending on how deep and hot your oil is. Mostly, the tofu is cooked, so you’re just getting a crispy batter coating to be golden.

Assemble the Meal:
  1. Make an artful array of the rice or noodles.
  2. Add the veggies to the top and drizzle some of the glaze over them.
  3. Set the tofu to one side or right in the middle of your steamed veggies and drizzle the rest of the glaze over that. You might roll the little fried darlings around in the sauce to get a more even coating, but it will make them slightly soggy. So at your own risk…

Devour with the joyous hum of a thousand wasps. 

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