An easy tofu recipe for any New Year’s resolution
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from years of New Year’s resolutions, it’s that doing something is much easier than avoiding something.
Since I instinctively chafe at boundaries, I treat my heart like a little child, highlighting “yes” instead of “no.” The thought of giving up steak, Manhattan, or Instagram would make me angry. But frame it this way: Let’s eat more vegetables! Or explore non-alcoholic aperitifs! Or read more books! I am happy to comply.
For me, this year will be all about saying yes to more plant-based cooking. I want to master tofu like I master chicken thighs.
I’ve actually found that there is a lot of overlap in cooking methods. Each works well with a short stint on a hot rimmed pan. Drizzle them with oil, turn on your oven and they will appear crispy on the edges, golden on top and soft in the middle.
In terms of flavour, tofu and chicken thighs may taste very different, but they like the salty, tangy spread with some sort of marinade or sauce.
For this tofu bean bowl, I made an easy yet complex sauce by combining garlic, soy sauce, and crunchy chili peppers with a generous dollop of ketchup. Ketchup serves two purposes. It sweetens everything and acts as a binder, thickening the mixture so it can stick to the tofu pieces and season as they roast.
What makes this sauce really special is its chameleon-like nature: it changes depending on how you use it. When spread on tofu before roasting, it caramelizes, forming a sweet and delicious crust. Add the sauce with some slices of cabbage spread out on the pan alongside the tofu, and it helps the tender pieces of cabbage to sear and turn attractively black. And after sprinkling it over the grain bowl at the end, it’s still bright and tart, adding a spicy flavor that’s tempered by fruity tomato chunks.
As for the grain portion of the grain bowl, it is the cook’s choice. Use whatever you have and love — cooked or leftover rice (brown or white), barley, quinoa, farro, and millet. If you’ve given up carbs or, for example, you’re increasing your salad intake, pile everything into a greens pile.
Framed in any way, it’s easy to say yes to this delightful and adaptable recipe.