This morning I had a severe case of tofu autopilot. I woke up and – without any hesitation or thought or teeth brushing or clothes putting on-ing – I went to my fridge, pulled out a big package of tofu, cut it open, drained it, wrapped it in paper towels, and plopped it down between two cutting boards with a heavy platter on top. Like a robot. Then I stopped. Looked around. Freaked the fuck out.
Seriously, who has that much foresight? Getting tofu dry is second only to long division as something I am physically unable to accomplish. And here I was, doing it unconsciously. You’d freak out too. Trust me.
ANYWAYS. On to the super prepared tofu that became Sweet and Smoky Tofu over Spicy Leek Ribbons and Green Beans! That sounds so totally cute. I’m going to start eating more of my food in ribbon format. Who wants some cottage cheese ribbons? Everyone?
Let me break down the fun and especially good parts of this recipe. First off, I used maple syrup instead of going the typical agave route. Why? Agave is gross. There. I said it. Also, maple syrup gives a sort of woody, roasted flavor base that, when combined with the chili oil and bit of paprika cayenne and nutmeg and cinnamon, alludes to the sweet and smoky flavor. Agave can’t handle that sort of responsibility. Much like me with money. Sweet and smoky money.
Also leeks are so good, right? I’ve had this monstrous leek in my fridge for entirely too long and when I took it out today, it looked as wonderful as the day I bought it. What a lady. Cooked down with chili oil, some soy sauce, and brown sugar, it compliments the tofu pretty nicely. And we should all eat more string beans. Let’s be real with ourselves.
So go ahead and wake up and squeeze the watery life out of some tofu. Throw it all over some cauliflower rice for an even more satisfying meal. Or don’t. I’ll still love you all the same.
SWEET + SMOKY TOFU over SPICY LEEK RIBBONS + GREEN BEANS
TOFU + GLAZE
- 9 oz super firm tofu (wild wood sprouted tofu is my new jam these days), dried, cut into squares or rectangles or hearts
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon date sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- dashes of paprika and cayenne
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
LEEKS + GREEN BEANS
- 180g or so leeks, cut into ribbons
- 110g (1 cup or so) green string beans
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 3 oz vegetable stock, divided
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (I like things spicy…)
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce of choice (real spicy…)
- ½ teaspoon light brown sugar
Let’s put pants on before we do these things…for safety:
In a blender or food processor or whatever, combine the ingredients for the tofu glaze. Dip your pieces of tofu in the glaze to coat them and then place them in a Tupperware. Pour the remaining glaze over the tofu and refrigerate as you prepare the rest of the dish. In a perfect world, you did this last night.
Spray a wok with some cooking spray. Over medium heat, cook the garlic until it becomes fragrant. Toss the leeks in along with 2oz of vegetable stock. Allow it to cook for awhile, then cover the wok with a cover for awhile longer to get the leeks to soften without getting too brown. When the leeks seem pretty soft, throw in the green string beans with the remaining 1oz of vegetable stock along with the rest of the ingredients. Stir fry it all for a bit, adjusting here and there for how spicy or sweet you want your veggies. Cover again with the lid to encourage the green beans to soften a bit. But only a bit. They’re way better crunchy. Also? I’m sure this is a dumb way to cook these vegetables but I don’t care. It worked.
Take the veggies off the heat and set aside.
Remove your tofu from the fridge. Over medium heat, lay the pieces in one flat layer in a skillet. Allow them to cook, untouched, for about 5 minutes. Flip them over and pour the remaining glaze over the pieces. Let it all sit a bit while it the tofu pieces brown. Toss it around to encourage assimilation. Now you’ll be able to peer pressure it into doing anything you want. Once it’s all properly browned to your liking, remove from heat. Serve over the leeks and green beans and, if you’re feeling daring, a cup of cauliflower rice. Dab with another bit of chili garlic oil or sriracha.