19 August 2016

Grilled tofu banh mi

You know what's super delish? Grilled tofu!  But the smokiness can be a little too intense for a Thai curry.  However, it stands on its own so well, you'll never miss meat in things like this banh mi, below. You can also cut it up and put it in wraps (collard green wraps, anyone?) or a vegan Caesar salad, for that matter.  

First, you're going to have grill (or bake, it's equally good) your tofu. Keep this recipe handy, because it's about to be your new favorite protein source:

Crispy Tofu, Baked or Grilled

One block tofu, cut width-wise into two thinner steaks
Marinade, if desired
Salt and black pepper

Press and cut the tofu.  If you’re going to marinade it, do that first, for 15-30 minutes, making sure to flip once for even marination. 

Cover a dinner plate with a light sprinkling of cornstarch Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides (you can skip this step if you marinade) and then dredge both sides in the cornstarch, shaking off any thick clumps and spreading it around so it’s even-ish on both sides.

To grill: cook over medium heat until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes on each side.  
To bake: place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake in a 400⁰F oven until golden on both sides, about 12 minutes on each side.

Possible marinades:
·         1 tablespoon brown sugar + 1 tablespoon soy sauce + 1 tablespoon lime juice

·         1 tablespoon brown sugar + 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 1 tablespoon rice vinegar + 1 teaspoon (or more) garlic-chili sauce

Then, make your sandwich:

Grilled Tofu Banh Mi

Serves 4

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 ounces hothouse cucumber, julienned
4 ounces radish, julienned
4 ounces multicolored carrots, peeled and julienned
1 block of crispy baked or grilled tofu
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 baguette (about 20 inches long), halved lengthwise
Thinly sliced serrano or jalapeño chiles and cilantro sprigs, for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic and 1/2 cup of hot water and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the cucumber, radish, and carrots and mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Drain the pickled vegetables and pick out and discard the garlic.
Spread the mayonnaise on the top half of the split baguette, then top with the tofu and pickled vegetables. Garnish with chiles and cilantro sprigs. Close the sandwiches, cut into 4 pieces and serve. (If you have leftover pickled vegetables, they'll keep in the fridge for a week or so.)

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