The weekend totally got away from us with rainy weather, Gymboree class, work, and a birthday party and we never did make it to the supermarket. So I tried to plan our weekly menu around what we already had on hand, which included tofu and several bell peppers. This recipe is a longstanding favorite of ours. It’s quick and easy to make, even for tofu beginners. The tofu crisps up nicely and the soy sauce marinade with the cornbread crust has a great salty tang to it. The vegetables are crisp with mild flavor from the soy sauce and sesame oil, but you still enjoy their natural crunch and taste. Plus this is really nutritious and low in calories and fat so it’s a great light dinner.
The original recipe calls for snow pea pods and 2 bell peppers; I omitted the snow peas and used an extra half bell pepper to bulk up the dish and add more color and flavor. Teriyaki sauce could be used in place of the soy sauce too, depending on which flavor you prefer. Definitely get everything prepared in advance so you don’t need to worry about cutting/coating/cooking all at once. Top with black or white sesame seeds and serve over rice. I was hoping for some leftovers for lunch tomorrow but no such luck. We love this dinner!
Crispy Tofu and Vegetables (adapted with minimal changes from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook)
Yield: serves 4
1 12-16 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained
3 tablespoons soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, divided
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne pepper)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
2-3 bell peppers, assorted colors, sliced into thin strips
8 green onions, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
2 cups snow pea pods (optional), with strings/tips removed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds
1. Cut tofu into slices, about 2 inches long. Place them in a baking dish and pour 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce over them. Flip to coat with the soy sauce and let marinate for 15 minutes.
2. In a shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal and red pepper. Coat each piece of tofu with the cornmeal mixture and set aside.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Stir fry the peppers for 2 minutes then add the green onions and snow pea pods if using and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. They will still be crisp.
4. Remove the wok from the heat and add in the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish and ensure the wok is clean.
5. Heat another teaspoon of sesame oil in the wok, as well as the vegetable oil, over medium heat. Cook the breaded tofu for 2-3 minutes on each side; it will be crisp and golden. Serve over the vegetables and top with sesame seeds.