Spicy Glazed Tofu

January 3, 2015
by Jack McNulty
Spicy Glazed Tofu

Most professional cooks will probably tell you it is extremely important to create balance in a final dish…and that balance is achieved by artfully combining flavors, texture and appearance. Unfortunately, most professional cooks have also learned the standard techniques in a classical kitchen which rely heavily on the use of fats, salt and sugars. And if you don’t believe this statement, then simply tune into any cooking show on television and watch how the professionals cook. I guarantee you will see a recipe which is most definitely unhealthy!

But is all that fat really necessary to produce a tasty and balanced dish?

As a mostly plant-based cook, I have discovered how to produce really tasty food without the use of animal products and with a heavy emphasis on supporting good health. Removing fats from a dish will dramatically affect its flavor, so I had to consider how I would maximize the flavor of ingredients I use in my recipes. I began looking at alternatives. I started to emphasize toasting and roasting nuts, seeds and spices before I would use them in a recipe. I increased the sweet, acid and spice elements in my dishes to create powerful flavors which balanced well in the mouth. I concentrated flavors through reduction to bring even more flavor into my no oil dishes. And I never missed the fat!

Tofu is an excellent ingredient to test this theory of no-oil cooking because most people feel it is really rather bland in flavor. But after marinating the tofu to infuse rich flavors, then sautéing the tofu in a dry pan to caramelize the exterior and finally reducing the marinade to a concentrated glaze in the pan with the tofu…I think you will also be convinced that the fat is simply unnecessary.

Spicy Glazed Tofu
makes about 4 to 6 servings

300 gr. firm tofu, cut into 3-cm pieces
60 gr. tamari or soy sauce
25 gr. mirin
15 gr. brown rice vinegar
25 gr. honey
salt to season
chili flakes to taste

Begin by marinating the tofu. Combine the tamari, mirin, brown rice vinegar, honey and seasoning in wide and shallow dish large enough to fit the tofu in a single layer.
Add the tofu pieces and marinade for 30 – 60 minutes.

Remove the tofu pieces to a clean plate and reserve the marinade.

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the pan is heated, add the tofu pieces to the hot pan (work in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding). Increase the temperature to medium-high.

Turn the tofu pieces after about one minute – they should be lightly colored on the cooked side. Cook another minute. Remove the cooked tofu to a clean plate and continue with any uncooked tofu.

Once all of the tofu is cooked, return them to the hot pan and add all of the marinade. Cook until nearly evaporated and the marinade becomes a glaze. Toss the tofu well in the glaze.

Serve hot with steamed rice and some steamed vegetables.