Tofu can definitely be hit or miss. My favourite way to prepare it is to bake it in a marinade. This way the tofu really soaks up the flavour of whatever you want it to. Noodles, broccoli, and marinated tofu with a spicy lemon coconut sauce from 101cookbooks is the dish I present to you here today. This sauce can be used to liven up all sorts of different dishes, so get creative. Lemon, green chiles, cilantro, coconut. You get the point, it’s good.
The tofu is marinated in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chile, agave, miso and brown rice vinegar. Classic for a reason. A lot of my marinades for tofu and tempeh have most of these ingredients in them. It is simple, easy, and it works every time. You can add other ingredients, and leave others out. Experiment a little and see what you like.
I used brown rice noodles which were great. Their texture was perfect, not sticky, and the flavour was a good compliment. I have also tried it with 100% buckwheat noodles, but I found the flavour too strong for the dish. Experiment with different noodles. Every health food store, supermarket, specialty shop, and Asian market has different brands and types of noodles. I am constantly trying new kinds. The choices are numerous. What’s great about the brown rice noodles is that they are gluten-free which is great for all who have cut gluten out of they diet.
The first time I made this dish I experimented with baking the tofu before marinating to see if it would soak up the marinade better without any moisture in it. I baked, marinated, and baked again. It was pretty good. I wouldn’t say a necessary step. What was different is that the tofu was crispier this way, and there was a lot more leftover marinade, which could be used as a sauce, meaning the coconut sauce wouldn’t be as necessary. In the method described below, the marinade evaporates when you remove the foil to brown the tofu. Once again something for you to experiment with.
The marinade before meeting the tofu.
The chile, cilantro, scallion, garlic paste before meeting the coconut milk and lemon.
Tofu, Broccoli, and Rice Noodles with Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce
1 454g block tofu
250 g brown rice noodles
1 big head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 tbsp miso
1 garlic clove, grated
1 chunk of ginger (about 1/2 your thumb), grated
1/3 cup wheat free soy sauce/tamari
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
1/2 cup water
Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce from 101cookbooks
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 medium jalapeno (or serrano) chile, de seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 small bunch of scallions, thinly sliced (~8 scallions)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 14-ounce can of coconut milk (full fat)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
Cut the tofu into 8 equal slabs. To press the tofu cover it in paper towel or a clean dish towel and put something heavy on top for 30 minutes. If using paper towel switch to a fresh paper towel after 15 minutes.
While the tofu is being pressed, prepare the tofu marinade. Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Once the tofu has been pressed long enough, cut it into even sized cubes. The exact size is really up to you. Combine the cubes of tofu with the marinade in a large ziplock bag . Move everything around to make sure all the tofu is covered. If you are going to cook the tofu right away, put it directly into an oven proof dish with the marinade. Place the tofu in the fridge for 30 minutes or more, even overnight if you have the time.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Place the tofu and the marinade in an ovenproof dish, making sure all the pieces are flat. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the tofu and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-7 minutes on each side to brown the tofu until there is just a little marinade left.
While the tofu is baking prepare Heidi Swanson’s delicious coconut sauce. Her instructions, as found on her website 101cookbooks.com, are below.
“In a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic and chile into a paste along with the salt. Alternately, you can use a food processor. Add the oil and the scallions, and smash or chop a bit more. Add the cilantro, pulsing the food processor (if you’re using it) just a few times.
Transfer the mixture to a jar or bowl, and whisk in the coconut milk, then the lemon juice. Taste, and adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed. Store in a refrigerator for up to a week.”
15 minutes before the tofu is ready, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
At the same time, steam the broccoli florets for a few minutes until lightly cooked.
In a large bowl, combine the noodles, the broccoli, the tofu and the remaining marinade. Mix everything together well.
Serve in bowls topped with as much coconut sauce as you deem necessary. 2-3 tablespoons should do the trick.