Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tofu so tasty you'll eat it with a spoon

Consider this - I turned on my oven during last week's brutal heat wave in order to make this tofu. It's THAT good. It might not look or sound that appetizing, but this Thai-peanut tofu sandwich spread is without a doubt the tastiest tofu I've ever had. The origins of this recipe go back to a couple of years ago when I bought some Thai tofu spread at a farmer's market. I devoured it in no time, and inspired by the ingredient list printed on the container, decided to try making a batch of my own.

The version I make now is a fair bit different from the original product, but I love it even more. It's ridiculously easy to make for something so delicious, and is versatile - it's particularly good in a toasted sandwich, but is also good thrown into a salad, paired with crackers, or just eaten with a spoon. I should note that calling this a sandwich spread is a bit misleading - sandwich filling would be more accurate. It's crumbly and doesn't really bind together, so it can make for a messy sandwich. Trust me - you won't care. Just be sure to eat it over a plate or container so the yummy tofu pieces don't escape you.

Thai Tofu Sandwich Filling (makes about 4 servings)

1/2 package firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 6 slices
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup hot water
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp sesame oil
Green onions, thinly sliced (as many as you like)
1-2 tsp. lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Pat the pieces of tofu with paper towel to remove excess moisture, and arrange pieces in a greased casserole dish. Combine peanut butter with water until smooth (adding a little extra water if necessary - you want the mixture to be pourable, but not watery). Stir in tamari and sesame oil. Pour sauce over tofu, turning pieces to coat with the sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (do this after preparing the tofu so the tofu can marinate while the oven heats up). Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the pieces every 10 minutes. The peanut sauce will dry up a fair bit, but that's ok!

Transfer the cooked tofu pieces to a bowl and mash the tofu with a fork. You want the tofu to be in small crumbles, not mashed into a paste. At this point I usually add a little extra pb, tamari, and sesame oil and mash them into the tofu - about a teaspoon of each. This helps intensify the peanut sauce flavour that has been baked into the tofu as well as keep the tofu moist. Add green onions, lime juice and cilantro and mix. You can eat this right away while still warm, but in my opinion it's even better cold the next day. It keeps well in the fridge for at least a few days - it probably won't last very long.

I've done my best to write down measurements for this recipe but in all honesty this is one of those recipes where I eyeball everything, so use your best judgment. If the peanut sauce doesn't adequately cover all your tofu, make a little extra. Add ingredients at the end to taste - if you like your Thai food with lots of lime, add more lime! If you love tamari, add a little extra. Enjoy!

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