A lot of people are scared of tofu. After all, it looks like a blocky white sponge, which isn’t a gorgeous way for dinner to begin. But don’t be afraid! Tofu is easy to handle and high in protein. Per 1/2 cup, it boasts 10 grams of protein, as well as calcium, iron, vitamin A, magnesium and potassium. Pretty impressive for a white sponge. That’s a good way to describe tofu as well – it’s like a flavor sponge! Whatever flavors you put into it, tofu soaks up! Trust us, you’re going to learn to love tofu for its versatility and affordability!
We have a favorite way to prepare tofu and it requires a little advance planning because you’re going to freeze it. Yes, you read that right. Buy the tofu for this recipe, then bring it home and toss it in the freezer. The day you plan to prepare the Satay dish, let the tofu thaw on the counter. In a hurry? Drop your frozen tofu packs into some warm water; it will speed up the thawing process. This step isn’t crucial, but the freezing/thawing process changes the texture of the tofu and makes it easier to handle. We highly recommend you try it!
Satay is a savory Southeast Asian dish, usually made with a spicy peanut sauce and served on bamboo or coconut skeweres. Traditional Thai cooking can be complex and call for exotic ingredients (Anyone have galangal, lemongrass, or Kaffir lime leaves on hand? We love em, but don’t have those tasty things!). This recipe is inspired by Thai flavors, but made with easy-to-find ingredients from a regular grocer. You can also control the amount of heat with how much red pepper flake you decide to add, in case you are cooking for folks that can’t deal with spicy foods. Allergic to peanut butter? This sauce is flexible and will work with other nut butters, like almond, sunflower seed or soynut butters. Smooth or chunky nut butters will work equally as well.
As written this recipe is vegan and gluten free. We serve it on bamboo skewers over brown rice with steamed red pepper chunky and steamed greens, like collards or kale. But try it any way you like! No need for skewers if they’re too fussy. And it would also be delicious with broccoli, bamboo shoots or in a lunch wrap.
- 2 blocks firm tofu, frozen and thawed
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk (we used Taste of Thai)
- 4 Tbs. soy sauce (we used Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- 4 cloves peeled garlic
- juice of one lime
- pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
- pinch black pepper, to taste
- Prepared brown rice, red peppers and greens
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Gently squeeze all water out of frozen and thawed tofu blocks. Try not to break pieces off the tofu. Cut into bite-sized cubes and place on a non-stick baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat. Keep tofu in a single level.
- Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, then stir. Bake another 15-20 minutes, until edges are crisp and browned.
- While tofu bakes, prepare brown rice (if making) according to package directions. Slice vegetables such as red peppers or greens, and steam.
- Prepare satay sauce by adding peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic cloves, lime juice, red pepper flakes and black pepper to a blender or food processor. Process until no chunks of garlic remain and sauce is silky smooth. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add a little more coconut milk and re-mix until your desired consistency is achieved.
- When tofu is done and crisp, remove from oven, toss into a bowl and fold in satay sauce. The warm tofu will soak in the sauce. If presenting traditionally, you can thread it onto skewers now. If serving with rice and steamed peppers/greens, build an serving plate with rice on the bottom, then add the greens, then toss the tofu and red pepper pieces. Serve warm.
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