Spicy Ginger Tofu

I’m getting old guys. You know how I know? (Besides the fact that it was just my birthday.) I find myself getting really excited about boring home goods. Like when the water carafe and bath hand towel that I purchased as a birthday gift to myself arrived yesterday, I was jumping-off-the-walls-ecstatic. Until I realized it is just a water carafe and bath hand towel…

My young self would not have been impressed by kitchen and bathroom accessories. She also would not have eaten tofu as it tasted pretty bland on its own and appeared to be food for hemp-wearing tree huggers. But what do you know, the me today embraces tofu! As it turns out, tofu is pretty awesome when you season and cook it properly.

As I hinted in my last post, I have a job! I am a Program Intern forΒ CUESA’s Foodwise Kids programΒ which utilizes the Ferry Plaza’s Farmers Market as a classroom for nutritional education. I coordinate and conduct the cooking classes and also help develop the curriculum for the program. I really like seeing the kids interact with the farmers and get excited about being around food. The best part is helping them make their own meal from produce they bought at the market!

You can buy tofu now at farmers market which is really cool. My favorite local brands include Tofu-Yu and Hodo Soy. I can’t believe I’m gushing over tofu but this dish is really hearty and flavorful. I love the aromatics of the ginger and turmeric. And the way the tofu is cooked makes it crispy on the outside but soft on the inside – kind of like when Pizza Hut came out with their cheese-stuffed pizza crusts but way better.

Spicy Ginger Tofu
Makes 4 servings
Recipe slightly adapted from Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges by Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • One 12-ounce block firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup roasted kale or greens of your choice
  • cilantro

Cook
*Whisk together the ginger, soy sauce, chili sauce, turmeric, sugar, and salt in a shallow dish until well combined. Add the tofu pieces, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
*Heat half the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the onion, shallot, and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, turn the heat to low, and add 3 tablespoons water to keep the vegetables moist.
*Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in another nonstick skillet and add the tofu. Do not crowd, making sure the pieces are kept separate. After the tofu is browned on one side, about 3 minutes, turn the pieces carefully and brown another side, about 3 minutes. Repeat until all sides are browned.
*Transfer the browned tofu to the onion sautΓ© and top with the chopped peanuts and mix in the roasted kale. Season with salt, garnish with more peanuts, cilantro and serve over rice.

Enjoy!

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