Spicy Grilled Tofu Skewers with Quick-Pickled Vegetables

Été 2019
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food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

So long, bland tofu, gochujang is in town to spice things up. Gochu-what? It’s an intense, spicy Korean chili paste and you can find it at an Asian grocery store or well-stocked supermarket. Devoted tofu lovers will adore this zingy version, while those who think they don’t like tofu won’t remember why they didn’t like. The tangy quick-pickled vegetables add the perfect freshness and crunch.

 

3 pkgs (each 350 g) extra-firm tofu
2 tbsp (30 mL) grated ginger
⅓ cup (80 mL) gochujang chili paste
¼ cup (60 mL) natural rice vinegar
¼ cup (60 mL) canola oil
12 bamboo skewers (preferably flat), each 10 inches (25 cm) long
Additional canola oil

QUICK-PICKLED VEGETABLES
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
½ cup (125 mL) natural rice vinegar
½ English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 red radishes, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal

 

1 Place 1 block of tofu on cutting board with one long narrow edge down. Cut lengthwise into 2 slabs, each about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick. Place each slab with the broad-side down and cut into 8 squares. Repeat with 2 remaining blocks of tofu to make 48  quares total. Pat tofu pieces dry.

2 In a shallow dish, whisk together ginger, gochujang, rice vinegar and oil. Add tofu cubes and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or for up to 1 day.

3 Soak skewers in shallow dish of water for at least 30 minutes before you plan to cook, then drain.

4 For the quick-pickled vegetables, whisk together sugar, salt and vinegar in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add cucumber, radishes and carrots and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, until wilted, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

5 Preheat barbecue grill to medium-high.

6 Thread 4 tofu pieces onto each skewer, letting plenty of marinade cling to tofu.

7 Oil grill well. Grill skewers, turning and brushing liberally with sauce left in dish, for 5 minutes per side or until well browned and hot in the centre. The tofu will stick and break if you try to turn it too soon so check if it will loosen before attempting to flip it over.

8 Reserve 4 skewers of tofu for Spicy Tofu Nut Burgers (recipe below) and 4 for Spicy Tofu Bibimbap (recipe below) or Quick Ideas (below).

9 Serve hot tofu skewers with quick-pickled vegetables.

10 Let leftover tofu cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

More Quick Ideas
Dice cold tofu for Caesar salad instead of croutons. Serve cubes of tofu on cocktail sticks with peanut sauce for dipping as appetizers.

Serves 4 with leftovers for 2 recipes

Spicy Tofu Nut Burgers
Spicy Grilled Tofu gives these veggie burger patties a kick of flavour that’s often missing with a tofu-based patty. The nuts add substance and texture and the zucchini and carrot keep them moist. Chilling the patties before cooking does help them firm up, so make them at least a few hours ahead of cooking, if you have the time. Add other favourite burger garnishes as you wish.

4 leftover Spicy Grilled Tofu Skewers
1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
1 small carrot, cut into chunks
¾ tsp (4 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews and/or almonds)
½ cup (125 mL) quick-cooking rolled oats or dry bread crumbs, approx.
¼ cup (60 mL) mayonnaise
1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10 mL) Sriracha or other hot sauce
Canola oil
4 soft hamburger buns
Lettuce leaves
4 to 8 slices tomato

1 Remove tofu from skewers and discard skewers. Place tofu in a food processor with zucchini, carrot and salt. Pulse until vegetables are finely chopped. Add nuts and pulse until mixture is fairly smooth with just small pieces. Transfer to a bowl.

2 Add about half of the oats, stirring until moistened, then gradually add more just until mixture holds its shape well when squeezed and is just slightly sticky. Shape into 4 patties, about ½ inch (1 cm) thick and place on a baking sheet or flat plate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or for up to 1 day (they get firmer the longer you chill them).

3 Preheat barbecue grill to medium, if using. 

4 Stir mayonnaise with Sriracha, to taste, in a small bowl.

5 To cook on the stovetop, heat a large nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Lightly oil skillet. Add patties, in batches as necessary, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, turning once, for about 5 minutes per side or until well browned and hot in the centre. To barbecue, place a nonstick grilling sheet or oiled piece of foil onto grill. Place patties on sheet and grill, turning once, for about 7 minutes per side or until well browned and hot inside.

6 Toast buns lightly, if desired. Spread spicy mayonnaise on buns, top with tofu patties, lettuce and tomato.

Serves 4

Spicy Tofu Bibimbap
Even if you don’t have those smoking hot traditional Korean dolsot stone bowls (but hey, if you do, fire them up!), bibimbap topped with sautéed veggies and Spicy Grilled Tofu, fried egg and kimchi will make a smokin’ hot dinner.

¾ cup (175 mL) long-grain brown or white rice
Salt
¼ cup (60 mL) natural rice vinegar, divided
2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil, divided
1 lb (455 g) mushrooms, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 leftover Spicy Grilled Tofu Skewers
4 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) bean sprouts or radish sprouts or shredded spinach
¼ cup (60 mL) fresh cilantro leaves, torn Kimchi (store-bought)

1 Cook rice with salt according to package directions. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the rice vinegar, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fold gently with a spatula. 

2 Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, ½ tsp (2 mL) salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes or until liquid is released and mushrooms start to brown. Add green onions and tofu and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until tofu is hot. Transfer to a bowl. Add remaining rice vinegar to skillet and stir to scrape up brown bits. Pour over mushroom mixture.

3 Return skillet to medium-low heat and add remaining oil. Crack each egg into skillet and season with salt and pepper. Fry just until browned around the edges and yolk starts to set, or to desired doneness, flipping for overeasy or over-hard, if you like. Remove from heat.

4 Divide rice among warmed individual serving bowls. Arrange tofu mixture, bean sprouts, cilantro and kimchi on rice, then top with fried eggs.

Serves 4

What to Serve

LCBO#:572313
$2.70