Tag Archives: sesame oil

Soy Glazed Tofu

This quick and easy Soy Glazed Tofu is one of our favorites! We usually have most of the ingredients on hand so we can have one of our most requested dinners ready to go in minutes. We just introduced our son to this delicious meal too and he approved so it’s sure to stay in our rotation.

Soy Glazed Tofu

I know that a lot of people are intimidated by tofu. I agree that it seems a bit of a challenge as it just comes in a big white block of nothingness in a tub of water. What to do with it? It took me some practice before I was able to cook tofu in a way that I found edible. I’m really not sure why because now I do just fine without difficulty. Maybe it was just a matter of finding the right recipes…this is definitely one of them! Tofu Pad Thai and Crispy Tofu and Vegetables are other popular choices in our home.

I started off with firm (or extra firm) tofu as it stands up to stir frying better. I cut it into 1-inch cubes and laid the cubes on a paper towel-lined plate, covered with another paper towel, then another plate, for at least 15 minutes, pushing down occasionally. This helps to free excess fluid from the tofu, making it crispier when cooked.

In the meantime, I prepared the soy glaze. In a small saucepan, I combined seasoned rice vinegar (you can get this in the vinegar section in most supermarkets, or check the Asian section), freshly squeezed orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and some orange zest and brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered until thick, stirring intermittently while cooking the tofu.

Getting back to the tofu, I heated dark toasted sesame oil in a large wok over medium-high heat, then cooked the tofu until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking/burning. Using a nonstick wok or skillet will help prevent the tofu from falling apart (one of my early problems with cooking tofu). Once the tofu was cooked, I removed it from the heat, poured in the soy glaze, and garnished with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Soy Glazed Tofu

The sweetness from the orange juice and brown sugar contrasts nicely with savory soy sauce and vinegar, and the flavor of the toasted sesame oil resulting in a fantastic dish. We usually serve it with white rice. It would pair nicely with freshly steamed broccoli as well. This is a meatless meal that you can have ready for your family within 30 minutes. So challenge yourself…try cooking with tofu!

Soy Glazed Tofu

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Soy Glazed Tofu (adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2010)

Yield: serves 4

1 12-ounce package firm tofu

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon dark toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (for garnish)

1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds (for garnish)

Directions:

1. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes on a plate lined with a paper towel, cover with another paper towel, then another plate. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, stirring intermittently.

3. In a large nonstick wok or skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes to the pan, and cook for about 10 minutes, until light golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add the sauce, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds, and serve right away.

Per serving: 130 calories, 5 grams fat (calculated from myfitnesspal.com; all nutrition information is approximate)

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Check out these other tofu recipes from The Dinner Pages:

Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

Tofu Pad Thai

Check out other recipes submitted to the Cook Your Books link up… cookyourbooks

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Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu

Soba noodles, also known as buckwheat noodles, are a traditional New Year’s food in Japan. It is thought that the length of the noodles symbolizes longevity in life, which of course is a good thing to hope for going into a new year. Aside from the length of the noodles, this dish may help contribute to a long life because it’s really good for you. I know a lot of people make various healthy eating resolutions starting January 1st and this recipe won’t derail you. Over the next few weeks I’m planning to feature a number of nutritious and lower calorie meals that will help you to achieve your resolutions. I’ll put the nutrition information at the bottom of the recipe. If there’s not nutrition info, more than likely you just don’t want to know (or my 15 month old son just wouldn’t go to bed so I didn’t have time to calculate everything, which is a distinct possibility these days)!

This dish is satisfying thanks to delicious sweet and spicy Asian flavors. The distinctive flavor of sesame oil is enhanced by the sweetness of brown sugar and orange juice, and spiced up with some chile paste, ginger, and garlic. The salad is served cold, but I really prefer cooked tofu so instead of “raw” tofu as called for in the original recipe, I seasoned and broiled it to crisp it up a little and add more flavor.

Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu

This salad contains tofu and long soba noodles for a long life. Other than cooking those, which requires minimal hands on time, this is a quick weeknight meal to put together. The salad veggies include napa cabbage, bean sprouts, and carrots and provide a nice crunch in contrast to the noodles and tofu. A bagged coleslaw mix could be substituted for the napa cabbage if you’re really in a rush. I’ll share another use for napa cabbage soon too so any leftovers don’t go to waste.

Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu

I want to wish all of The Dinner Pages readers a safe New Year’s celebration and a happy and healthy 2014! For this blog, which has only been around for 2 months, I hope to continue to bring you delicious, family friendly, and (mostly) healthy recipes. Let me know what you’d like to see more of and I will get cooking!

Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu

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Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu (adapted from Cooking Light Complete Meals in Minutes)

Yield: 4-5 servings

Dressing:

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic (or finely minced fresh garlic)

1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic

Salad:

1 package (12-14 ounces) firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes

nonstick cooking spray

salt and pepper

1 8-10 ounce package of soba noodles (can substitute whole wheat spaghetti)

half a head of napa (Chinese) cabbage (about 3-4 cups), thinly sliced

2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1. Prepare the salad dressing by placing the first 9 ingredients (under dressing) in a small mixing bowl and combining with a whisk. Set aside.

2. To prepare the tofu, coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the cubes of tofu in a bowl and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste. Transfer the cubes to the baking sheet and broil on high for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden, turning the cubes over once halfway through.

3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil then add the soba noodles and cook according to package directions, about 4 minutes. Drain the noodles, rinse in cold water, then drain again.

4. In a large bowl, combine the tofu, noodles, cabbage, sprouts, carrot, and cilantro. Top with the dressing and toss together to combine.

Nutrition Information:

For 1/4 of the salad: 371 calories, 9 grams of fat (calculated from myfitnesspal.com; all nutrition information is approximate)

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Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

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.

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

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

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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

Directions:

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.

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Sweet and Sour Sloppy Joes with Sesame Slaw

This is my first ever blog post! I’m excited to share this tasty and quick dinner recipe.

I came across this recipe in Real Simple magazine a few months ago. I often pull recipes from magazine pages and add them to my “file” (that is, a big box of recipes that I moved halfway across the country a few years ago and never sorted through). But we’ve already made this one several times, so I guess it’s a keeper. This is a quick and tasty take on the old standby, sloppy joes. We like Asian food and the soy sauce and sesame oil add a slight Asian flavor to this good ol’ American meal. It cooks up quickly so it’s helpful to have everything measured and prepped ahead of time.

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I started with a tablespoon of vegetable oil in my wok. I like Smart Balance products because the research for them was done at my alma mater, Brandeis University (actually I was a guinea pig for some of it, but that’s another story…). Any vegetable oil will work though. Chop up a bunch of green onions (I used 7 of them) and mix together with a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger. We keep ginger root in the freezer, just peel the portion we need for a particular recipe, and grate it frozen. It lasts forever this way and no more moldy ginger hiding in the back of my refrigerator produce drawer.

I heated the oil in the wok on medium-high heat and added the green onions and ginger and cooked until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Next I added about a pound of ground beef. This time we used 93% lean beef but it’s really up to you. There’s plenty of moisture in this recipe so even if you use a leaner beef it shouldn’t be too dry. I cooked the beef, breaking it up into little pieces, until it was browned all over and cooked through. It took about 5-6 minutes.

The last step for the meat part of the dish was adding in the sweet and sour flavors, a quarter cup of soy sauce (we use low sodium), a quarter cup of tomato paste, a quarter teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and three tablespoons of packed light brown sugar. I added in a half cup of water, stir everything together, and let it thicken up a little bit for a minute or two (I actually turned the burner down to low to let it simmer a bit while I prepped the slaw).

Then I moved onto the side dish, a sesame coleslaw. The original recipe calls for half a small head of cabbage, thinly sliced, and 2 carrots, grated. I’ve made it this way and it comes out fine but we are really busy people so any shortcuts that allow me to get dinner on the table faster are so helpful to us. It was so much quicker and easier (and honestly not too much more expensive) to buy the coleslaw salad mix in a bag. I threw in a handful of packaged matchstick carrots and saved myself a good 5-10 minutes of slicing. I also added a handful (about half a cup, loosely packed) of chopped fresh cilantro. The dressing is a quarter cup of fresh lime juice (I got more than enough from one lime), another tablespoon of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, and pepper and salt to taste (I omitted the salt altogether). Toss everything together in a large bowl.

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Serve the sweet and slow sloppy joes on your buns of choice. This time we used little slider buns because they were on sale and looked good but we have used other types in the past as well. Even my 13 month old enjoyed this dinner….surprisingly the sesame slaw was his favorite part! This meal serves 3-4 adults. It was more than enough for me, my husband, and toddler with probably another portion left over. Hands on time was about 30 minutes, maybe even less with the packaged slaw.

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Sweet and Sour Sloppy Joes with Sesame Slaw (adapted from REALSIMPLE.COM, May 2013)

Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 cup water

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

pre-packaged bag of coleslaw mix (or 1/2 small head cabbage thinly sliced)

1 cup grated or matchstick carrots

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

4 buns (8 if using sliders), split

Recipe:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in wok or large skillet at medium-high heat. Add the chopped green onions and ginger and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the ground beef to the wok and brown it, breaking into little pieces, until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.

3. Add the soy sauce, tomato paste, pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon), brown sugar, and water. Stir everything together and let thicken for 1-2 minutes (can simmer on low heat while preparing the slaw).

4. For the slaw: in a large bowl mix together the cabbage or packaged coleslaw mix, carrots, cilantro, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, lime juice, sesame oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss together.

5. Top the buns with meat and serve with the slaw.

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