Tofu is always a treat in my house since I don’t make it very often. One of my favorite things about tofu is that it’s kind-of like the vegan version of chicken breast, in that it’s a completely blank canvas for whatever you want to season it with.
Cooking tofu is a little bit of a process, but it isn’t difficult at all. It’s quite sponge-like, so first you have to drain the water out (by letting it sit with a heavy object on top), and then you can add flavor back in (by marinating it). I used a pretty basic marinade that packs a lot of flavor with just a few ingredients, by using things like soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Sesame seeds and sesame oil add a nice nutty flavor dimension, and fresh scallion as a garnish really brightens up the dish.
1 (14 oz) block of extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 large cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
1-inch piece ginger, grated on a microplane
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chickpea flour/besan (or any flour you like)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced on an angle
To drain the tofu, put it on a paper towel-lined plate; cover it with another paper towel, and then a tray. Weigh the tray down with a heavy object (such as a large can of tomatoes or beans) and let it drain for 30 minutes.
To make the marinade, whisk together 1 tablespoon of oil, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Cut the tofu in half so you have 2 blocks, then slice each block cross-wise into 6 equal slabs; put the sliced tofu in the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine the flour and sesame seeds in a shallow dish; dredge both sides of each tofu piece in this mixture. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add the tofu and fry until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
Serve garnished with scallion.