Baked Tofu

by Wendy Copley on October 11, 2008

Several people have noticed the baked tofu that I put in Wyatt’s lunches and have asked me for the recipe. Well, the sad truth is that I’m a very lazy person and I don’t make all that baked tofu — I buy it. It never crossed my mind that I could make it myself until people started asking my how I did it. I usually get it at Trader Joe’s but I also pick it up at the regular grocery stores like Safeway and Lucky (I usually find Wildwood brand there, but I think there are others too). We aren’t too picky about what flavors we buy, but Wyatt tends to like the sweeter flavors like the teriyaki and the honey sesame so those are the kinds I usually get.

The other day Creative Claudia sent me this comment:

I wanted to let you know that I have now successfully baked my own tofu and it is quite delish!
I googled “how to bake tofu” and came up with the simple answer of marinating it in soy sauce for 10 minutes and then baking it in the oven at about 350 degrees F–turning over halfway through. I marinated my hard tofu (after slicing it into 4 or 5 slices) in soy sauce and sesame oil for 10+ minutes. I then baked it in my toaster oven (400 degrees F) watching for it to “brown” so that I could turn it over. That took about 8-12 minutes. I turned it over and baked it for about 10 minutes more. This was probably more time than it needed but I was busy cooking the rest of our meal while it baked. SOOOOOOOO very simple!!!

Claudia’s cooking adventure inspired me and I decided that I had to try baking my own tofu. Here’s what I did:

I started with extra-firm silken tofu. I had used half a package for an Asian Noodle Salad from Martha’s site (fantastically delicious, by the way). So I decided to experiment with the other half of the package. I wanted to get out as much moisture as I could in order to duplicate the firm, dense texture of the baked tofu that I buy so the first step was to put the tofu on a paper towel to drain off as much water as possible. After I’d let it sit a few minutes I remembered a technique I’d used in the past where I pressed the tofu with a can. This helps to drain more water out and I thought it might make it denser as well. I put another plate on top of the tofu and then put a heavy can on top of that, like so:

Press the tofu

Once the tofu had drained for a while (maybe 20 minutes?) I sliced it into eight pieces and put them in a marinade. The marinade I made was pretty simple: 3 T of lime juice, 2 T soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.

Marinate the tofu

When it went into the marinade it wassnowy white, but after I’d turned it over a few times, it looked like this:

Marinate the tofu

I marinated it for quite a while (most of the afternoon) and then I baked it for about 10 minutes per side in the toaster oven at 350.

Bake the tofu

This is how it looked when it came out. Pretty delicious looking, huh?

Baked Tofu

I refridgerated it for the rest of the afternoon and then tried it out on Wyatt at dinner time. I was pretty low key about it when I presented it because I wasn’t sure how it would go over. While not identical in appearance, it looked enough like the usual tofu I give him that I thought he might try it. While he did try it, the verdict was not good. Wyatt took one bite, chewed it for a second, and then ran to the trash can and spit it out. He then went and got a dish towel off the handle of the stove and wiped his tongue with it. I think there might have been retching involved as well. When he was finished removing every trace of the tofu from his tongue he told me, “Mama, that was the worst tofu in the whole entire WORLD!”

All righty then! Not a big success.

I tried it though and I thought it was quite tasty. It also was significantly cheaper to make this myself — about a quarter or third of the price — than to buy the baked tofu at the store. I will definitely make it again for myself.

I’m wondering if the marinade was the part that he really objected to. In retrospect, I realize that the flavors I chose were geared more to my palate than to his. I think I might try making it again with a teriyaki sauce and see if that goes over any better.

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