I like peanut sauce. In fact, I like just about anything with peanut butter that doesn’t involve bananas. However, my mother adores peanut sauce so much she’ll lick the bowl clean if nobody’s looking (occasionally even if it’s just family). That meant that I had practically no choice but to select Katherine’s peanut sauce when it came time for me to choose my recipe to post about for June’s SRC bloghop. Among other interesting recipes are her Hungarian Surprise Cake, Miso Butternut Squash Ramen, and Fresh Chickpea Salad.
Katherine’s peanut sauce was a pleasant change from my usual variation. The curry powder added a nice kick (especially since I used a spicy Punjabi blend) and the coconut milk made it truly luscious. Any reluctant broccoli eater would melt under its power if you dressed steamed broccoli with a generous dollop.
I typically avoid marinades (throwing them away always feels so wasteful), but this simple marinade was easily repurposed into the vegetable and millet “fried rice” we ate with the tofu. Basically: two heads of broccoli, one carrot, one onion, a generous handful of shredded cabbage, and a handful of homegrown snow peas plus about 1.5 c leftover millet. A slice or two of ginger would have made it into a brilliant stir-fry, but it was very good just as it was. If you’re going to use the marinade, be sure to keep it cold while marinating and do so promptly. Generally, food safety guidelines recommend never using a marinade used on meat or fish.
Working with tofu may seem challenging to newbies, but there are a couple of tricks. First, buy the correct type for the recipe. Tofu comes in standard (or “cotton”) and silken textures. Generally, a standard tofu works well for cooked dishes featuring blocks, with the exception of soups, which can handle either. Firmness varies, and a firm or extra firm tofu works best when you’ll be flipping and handling it much. Soft tofus work very well in soups, stews, or dishes where you can tolerate it breaking. If you want a firmer texture less likely to break, you can press the block of tofu between two plates and some sort of weight (a large can, cast iron skillet, whatever you have around). You can press it anywhere from 10 minutes to 12 hours. Keep in mind the tofu will leak liquid, so be sure to have a pan or something to catch it. This is a great recipe to start with– tofu is a bland surface for whatever flavors you want to add to it– and Katherine did a great job blending flavors.
I made very few changes to the recipe– switching from brown sugar to molasses/sugar, changing vinegar types, and accidentally doubling the curry powder. You could easily make more tofu with this much peanut sauce, perhaps as much as 24 oz. Triangles generally please me more than rectangles so about half my tofu was cut into trianges rather than rectangles.
2 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
1 T rice vinegar
1 T umeboshi vinegar (pickled plum)
12 oz extra-firm tofu, sliced into 1-inch thick triangles and patted very dry
Peanut Dipping Sauce:
3/4 c coconut milk
1/2 c peanut butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T curry powder
1 T sugar
1/2 t molasses
1 T lime juice
1 T avocado or canola oil
4 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
For the marinade, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sherry vinegar in a large pan. Add the tofu and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours (refrigerate if marinating longer than 1 hour).
Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Put the coconut milk, peanut butter, garlic, curry powder, brown sugar, lime juice, oil, and soy sauce in a food processor. Blend until smooth. You can do this by hand, if so, microwave the coconut milk briefly to warm it.
Preheat the oven to 450F. Arrange the tofu in one layer in a large baking dish. Brush each piece of tofu with a bit of the Peanut Dipping Sauce. Transfer the baking pan to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and flip each piece of tofu. Brush the tofu again with the dipping sauce and return to the oven. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until tofu is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve with the dipping sauce. Extra dipping sauce can be used for vegetables, spring rolls, or another batch of tofu
Linked to: Gluten-Free Wednesdays