Sesame baked tofu

My current dissertation chapter deals with veganism and the ways in which certain subcultures politicize it as a way to represent their particular “communities of meaning.” While I will never, ever give up cheese and ice cream, I do agree that meat consumption — especially that of beef — is unethical in terms of its environmental impact and its unsustainable use of resources. Which means that while I’ve been working on this chapter, I’ve been eating a lot more tofu and other vegan/vegetarian dishes. (I did the same thing when my dissertation dealt with disaporic Indians and their use of food/recipes in literature: I ate a lot of samosas, which probably correlates to my recent return to Weight Watchers!)

The deli at Wheatsville Co-op has this really delightful sesame baked tofu that it sells for $2.25 a slice. Since I adore it and one slice is roughly the price of a block of tofu itself, I decided to try it at home. The Wheatsville version is slightly nutty with a wee bit of heat, with a not-too-soft interior and a nice, golden exterior that yields nicely to the tooth. Let’s see how we go!

First, I made the marinade:

Then I took the drained, sliced tofu and drenched it good:

Then I placed the tofu in the container with the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. When I got back home, I preheated the oven to 400, put the tofu on a baking sheet and sprinkled it with white sesame seeds:

Ack! Do you see my fatal mistake? I should have put some sort of foil boat underneath and around the slices, or better yet, I should have put the tofu on a pie plate, because the excess oil from the marinade ran off the baking sheet, onto the bottom of the oven, started smoking and turned our house into a beeping, hazy, smelly pit. Boo!

Fortunately, Matt had the grill fired up to cook some steak and chicken, so I made a foil boat for the tofu and asked him to finish off the tofu outside. When he brought it in, it looked like this:

I ate a slice while it was still hot and it was quite tasty. However, it lacked the nuttiness of Wheatsville’s version and had an overbearing note of tamari. It had the nice exterior, but was a little soft on the inside, like an undercooked quiche custard. Next time I will dial back the tamari and maybe not soak it in the marinade for a few hours? I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions.

Sesame Baked Tofu

1 package extra-firm tofu, drained
3 T sesame oil
1 splodge (1 T?) stone ground mustard
2 T rice vinegar
2 T tamari (will definitely use less next time)
1 splodge (1 T?) honey (note: if you are vegan, you can substitute agave nectar here)
1/4 t chili powder (will probably dial this up next time)
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 fat garlic clove, minced
1 T white sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400. Mix marinade. Slice drained tofu and dress it with marinade. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the slices over halfway through cooking.

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1 Comment

  1. Katy

     /  February 5, 2011

    Hi, I recently made some sesame-garlic baked tofu and what helped with the texture is to dry fry the slices of tofu before marinating (I marinated overnight). You use a non-stick/teflon pan so they won’t stick and didn’t use any oil of any kind at this point. You press the liquid from them as they slowly cook with a spatula which dehydrates it slightly. Flip once & repeat. It is done dry frying when it is this light golden color. Then I marinated it in a very similar marinade, but overnight, and turning once.
    6 Tbl soy sauce
    3 Tbl dark sesame oil
    3 Tbl vegetable oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1.5 tsp fresh ginger, minced
    1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
    I actually marinated them in the pan I was going to use to bake them in. The triangle slices I cut fit perfectly in the pan. I baked mine at 400 in the marinade for 30 mins, then flipped and baked another 30 mins. The tofu soaked up all of the marinade and leaves the tofu this great chewy texture.


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