Saturday, June 04, 2005

Who Do That Tofu That You Do So Well?

Even after twelve years of being vegetarian, I still don't feel like I have the knack for cooking with tofu. Sure, it's an easy substitute for cheese in Indian dishes like shahi paneer, but I'm only now learning some of the tricks for handling it (like pressing the tofu between layers of cotton or linen towels, not paper towels) and finding good recipes for it.

Case in point: I had come across a recipe for peanut-broiled tofu on the Yoga Journal food site when the lovely Phoenix introduced me to it. I've always loved peanut butter, so I thought I needed to try this dish.

And, of course, since I've had plenty of cravings for Thai or Asian-style dishes lately (and you know, I'm going to lay a little blame on The Gentleman for that since he's been raving about the many Thai restaurants in his new location; but I digress), and since I had tofu left over from the Bangkok noodles, this seemed as good a time as any to sample a new recipe.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly as it was too hot out this weekend (yippee!) to turn on the broiler. So after marinating the tofu for a few hours, I simply pan-fried the pieces and added the peanut sauce to the pan, letting it reduce and become more richly flavored. Once again, I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of the rice noodles for the foundation of the dish, and after using the carrots called for in the recipe the first time through, I used steamed broccoli to liven up the leftovers.

I have only once before eaten tofu cooked so perfectly (lots of flavor seared into the outside, creamy and rich inside), and even that dish couldn't compare to the heavenly mingling of peanut butter, soy sauce, cilantro, and my other favorite Asian flavors. It was succulent, it was blissful, it was amazing!

And it's going to get made again this week.

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