glazed tofu blues

As a vegetarian, I long ago settled on glazed tofu steaks as an enjoyable but simple way to up my protein intake without making dinner too unhealthy. A good glaze is not as easy as it sounds, though—especially for the fumbling kitchen improvisor.

The mistake I repeatedly make is heat. If you want to cook something down from a liquid to a thickened glaze, it seems like simple logic to set it on a full blaze to boil off the water. This is more problematic than you would think. The oil separates from the rest of the mixture and ends up—quite literally—deep frying the other ingredients while the water quickly evaporates, leaving you with charred lumps of foodstuff rather than an even glaze. This has happened to me countless times.

But let's start at the beginning…

1 pkg firm tofu
1 tbs peanut butter
1 tbs miso
1 lime, juiced
1 tbs tamari
1 cup vegetable stock
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp corn starch

Drain yr block. 
I've used a microwave to dry out tofu before—it works, but honestly, it doesn't feel any easier than just using gravity. Set the tofu on a cutting board at the edge of the sink. Prop the other edge up with something stable: another cutting board, some legos, whatever you can find—it should no more than an inch high. Place a plate on top of the tofu, upside-down. It should  be large enough to cover the brick on a single surface. Then, place a heavy, dictionary-sized book on top of that; I use Bittman's How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian, appropriately enough. Without the angle towards the sink, you'll get water all over the counter; with too much of an angle, you'll get your book in the sink.

Whip yr sauce.
While that is draining, whip the rest of the ingredients together in a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl. Whisk it real good.

Sear yr bricks.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat. If it is non-stick, you don't need oil at first, if not, make sure to use an oil with a good heat resistance, like avocado. Cut the drained tofu in half, lengthwise and place the two halves in the hot pan and cover it. Let it sear for a few minutes and flip it. Keep this up until both sides have a browned crispy face to them.

Get yr sauce on.
Give the glaze an additional whisk and pour it in. It will splatter and pop but make sure it gets to a good boil then immediately turn the heat down to a simmer and cover it again. It's my understanding that reaching full boil is an important step. Something happens, chemically, to activate an effective thickening agent.

Hang tough.
Check it once or twice to make sure there's some glaze on top of the tofu. After 5-10 minutes, flip the bricks. If the sauce doesn't seem to be thickening fast enough for you, prop the lid so that some steam can escape—but wait, patiently. Once it seems to have thickened to a sauce consistency (if not a full glaze), turn the heat off and uncover the dish. My experience tells me, that it will thicken some as it cools slightly.


As this is a dish that, despite how often I make it, I still cock it up as often as not, I thought I would provide the blues from the title to accompany it. Maybe some day searing simple tofu steaks will not cause me such agita.