Vegan author and restaurateur Isa Chandra Moskowitz knows tofu better than almost anybody, and she has a casual approach — or approaches — to it that I find particularly appealing. To wit: this baked tofu, which you first cut into thick planks and then bake at a lower temperature than I’m used to, firming up the texture but maintaining some creaminess. Baby bok choy offers a crunchy counterpoint.
Tying it together is a perfectly seasoned peanut sauce, so tasty you might want to double or triple the batch, just to have around for the next iteration of tofu — or anything else.
- 2 (14-ounce) packages extra-firm tofu, drained
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 heads baby bok choy (10 to 12 ounces), stems removed, leaves separated (may substitute large bok choy, torn into large pieces)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Wrap each block of tofu in a clean dish towel, place on a large plate and microwave on HIGH for four minutes. The tofu will release much of its liquid. Unwrap and cut each block into 8 planks.
Place the tofu on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and the tamari, flipping the planks to make sure they’re well coated. Sprinkle with black pepper. Arrange the tofu slices in a single layer. Bake (upper rack) for 30 minutes, until the tofu starts to lightly brown. Flip the planks and bake them for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the tofu is deeply browned on the edges.
While the tofu is baking, add the bok choy to a second large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining sesame oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake (lower rack) for 20 minutes, until wilted.
Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce: In a blender or food processor, combine the peanut butter, water, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, lime juice, ginger, hoisin and red pepper flakes and puree until smooth. Use additional water to thin the sauce, if necessary.
To assemble, divide the tofu and bok choy among plates. Drizzle with peanut sauce and sprinkle with scallions and red pepper flakes.
Calories: 450; Total Fat: 31 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 510 mg; Carbohydrates: 14 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 8 g; Protein: 28 g.
Adapted from “I Can Cook Vegan” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Abrams, 2019).
Tested by Joe Yonan; email questions to email@example.com.
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