Thursday, November 01, 2012

Awesome Sauce with Roasted Tofu

I found this recipe on Gluten-Free Girl, where it was originally called Roasted Tofu with Tamari Dipping Sauce. However, upon tasting it, the Engineer declared his undying love to this sauce. It made him so happy! Just like something that would be served in a good sushi restaurant, and he even said he would like to swim in it. So this is definitely a keeper!

The secret in the sauce is the wasabi powder. The amount used here was just borderline comfortable for me, though if you like spicy food, you could add more – but taste the sauce first. Mixed in with the other flavors in powder form, it wasn’t overwhelming like wasabi paste can be. (By the way, did you know that most commercial wasabi paste does not contain wasabi? It’s actually got mustard in it, which is why it sometimes feels like it comes back up your nose like Dijon mustard. And, surprisingly, wasabi paste often contains lactose as an additive. What an unexpected place for it!)

The recipe below is meant as a snack, where you dip the roasted tofu in the awesome sauce (which is a nice superlative). Since I wanted to make a dinner of it, I threw in some rice (though in hindsight I should have made gomashio and I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it), red bell pepper for dipping and caramelized onions. Note that the sauce could also be used as a dressing, or as a marinade for seared salmon or roasted chicken, for example.

16 oz. firm tofu
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 nub ginger, peeled (about the size of half your pinky finger)
2 Tbsp. wheat-free tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. wasabi powder (optional, but it really makes this sauce what it is)
3 Tbsp. sesame oil
9 Tbsp. grapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 450 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. (I made mine smaller, but next time, I would follow directions.) Season the tofu with salt and pepper. Pour the oil over the tofu cubes and gently toss them with oil to coat. It’s probably best to do this with your fingertips, taking care to not crumble the tofu. You want solid cubes.
Tumble the seasoned tofu onto the baking sheet. Slide it into the oven and roast the tofu for 15 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and flip over all the tofu cubes. Slide the baking sheet into the oven again and roast until the tofu cubes are puffed up and browned, about another 15 minutes.

While the tofu is roasting, toss the garlic cloves and ginger to a food processor. (You could also use a blender for this.) Whirl them up until they are pulpy. Add the tamari, rice wine vinegar, and wasabi powder and mix up the sauce. With the food processor running, pour in the sesame and grapeseed oils, slowly, a bit at a time. This will emulsify the dipping sauce, which means the ingredients will hold together.

Remove the tofu cubes from the oven. When they are cool enough to handle, dip them in the sauce and eat.

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