Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I love tofu. No, really, I do love it. It’s not as if, as a vegetarian, I am obligated to like it. I know a few vegetarians who positively dislike tofu – its texture, taste (or lack of it, in most cases), and general association with bland hippie fare. Yes, I know how maligned tofu has been through the decades, but I keep telling folks if they just had it prepared properly, flavorfully, they might learn to enjoy it (or at least tolerate it).
Here’s a dish I discovered that appeals to my appreciation of tofu as well as my favorite cuisine: Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce. I came across the recipe in, of all places, Gourmet magazine’s Web site, while looking for Korean vegetarian food. (We have no Korean restaurants in my town; so one must make do on their own.)
It elevates that scary cube of tofu from ghostly white tasteless hunk to a savory, satisfying, super-easy dish. The “spicy garlic sauce” really is none other than a very basic Asian blend of sweet, spicy, salty, garlicky goodness that personally sings to my heart. It’s lip-smackingly delicious, and tofu never has dressed up so simply, so good.
I prepared this dish with brown rice. The rice soaks up the leftover sauce, and the whole affair ends up satisfyingly healthful. (You can use low-sodium soy sauce here if the salt content makes you nervous. I used my favorite Vietnamese full-on soy sauce, but that’s me.) I snipped green onions from my garden, and doubled the garlic. The sauce would go great on soba or somen noodles, too. Make up a small batch to keep on hand, because if you are an ‘Asian craver’ like me, you’ll be thinking about this at 2 in the morning (dip spring rolls in it, too!).