This is probably one of our favorite ways to fix tofu. And we usually double or triple the recipe because the left-overs are awesome. This recipe does take a little advance planning but even without a long marinade, the tofu has a great flavor. My boys love to help with rolling the cubes in the cornstarch. We found that an even better dipping sauce is nuoc cham (recipe below).
2 lb. firm or extra-firm tofu 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped/minced 3 teaspoons peeled minced fresh ginger 4 tablespoons water 3 teaspoons Sriracha or Asian chili paste 5-6 tablespoons corn starch
For serving: salad, cooked grains, roasted veggies, and (definitely) Nuoc Cham
Drain the tofu, wrap it in a double-thickness of paper towel, then place it on a plate. Put another plate on top of the tofu and place a heavy can of beans or tomatoes on top of it to weigh it down. Let stand 30 minutes. This will help minimize the moisture in the tofu, and help make it more firm.
Unwrap the tofu, wipe it dry, and cut it into 1-inch (3cm) cubes.
In a large, zip-top freezer bag, mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, water, and Sriracha. Add the tofu and toss the cubes in the marinade. Lay the bag on a plate and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to 8 hours, turning the bag a few times while marinating. The cubes will take on a nice deep brown color.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Drain the tofu (the marinade can be reserved, refrigerated, and used for a dipping sauce or use the nouc cham), With the cornstarch in one bowl, roll the tofu cubes in the cornstarch until covered, and then transfer the tofu cubes to the prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between each cube. Bake, turning the cubes several times during baking, until they are crisp and browned, about 45 minutes.
Serve as you so desire. We like it on salad, on grains and greens (as a bowl type meal), or even just popping cubes into our mouths.
Makes about 3/4 cup
3 Tbsp fish sauce 3 Tbsp. lime juice 2 Tbsp brown sugar 6 to 8 Tbsp. water, to taste 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed 1 Thai chile, very thinly sliced
To make the nuoc cham, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, 6 tablespoons of the water, the garlic, and chile in a small bowl. Whisk well. Taste: if it’s too pungent, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. If you’d like a little more sweetness, add more brown sugar ½ tablespoon at a time. (Covered and chilled, the dressing will keep for three days to a week.)