This is my signature tofu recipe and my family’s favorite tofu dish. Guests always try to get the recipe out of me. Now’s their chance. Like a crouching tiger ready to spring into dynamic action, this recipe gives plain tofu a penetrating flavor and zip that makes it leap into a bold, tasty entity — hence the name “Crouching Tofu.” Ten minutes of “crouching” will better accomplish what ten hours of marinating would do — especially if you are like me and don’t plan enough in advance to press and marinate.
- 16 ounce tofu, firm or extra firm
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ground fennel
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 1/4" slice fresh ginger cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon olive oil*
- freshly ground black pepper
- oil or ghee for pan frying, grilling, broiling, or baking*
*If pan frying or baking, use extra virgin olive oil. For high-heat cooking methods, like grilling or broiling, use high-heat sunflower oil or ghee.
Crouching Tofu is our Thanksgiving “turkey” with gravy, mashed potatoes etc. And like leftover turkey, it’s excellent in open-faced sandwiches with gravy. The tofu gets denser, chewier, and more flavorful as it cools, making it perfect for cold sandwiches and wraps too; or cut it into strips or cubes for salads, shish kebab, and hors d’oeuvres. Try cubes on toothpicks with a dipping sauce (my cookbook will have many hidden-veggie sauce options).
For a simple balanced meal, enjoy Crouching Tofu plain or with a chutney, sauce, or gravy. Serve with grain or pasta and vegetable side dishes.
- Cut tofu, from the short end, into 10 to 12 slices, about ¼ inch, or 1 x 1 x ½ inch cubes.
- Combine remaining ingredients (except oil or ghee for additional cooking methods) in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- Lay tofu in the pan in even layers. Return to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.
- Serve as is; or brown by pan frying, baking, broiling, or grilling for an attractive look and a chewier texture.
To pan fry:
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or ghee) in a large skillet on medium. A pinch of paprika added to the oil gives a nice color.
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until browned. You may need to do this in batches.
- Add some new slices before completely emptying the pan, so the oil doesn’t burn between batches.
To bake: Place tofu pieces on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, turning half way through.
To broil: Coat lightly with oil, and broil about 5 inches from the heating element, about 3 minutes on each side.
To grill: Coat lightly with oil. Use your barbeque or stove top grill, and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
Crouching Tofu oven method:
Use this technique if you are cooking for a large group. You can put several pans in the oven at one time.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place slices or cubes of tofu in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Cover with broth.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Turn the pieces at 15 minute intervals.