Pan Glazed Tofu

Pan glazed tofu is my new fave.  It gives plain tofu a richness of flavor I hardly thought possible.  Those of you who follow my IG feed know I like salt-grilled tofu. This takes it a step further, thanks to Yewande Komolafe's great recipe. I love it because it uses mostly basic items in my pantry (yes, star anise is one of my favorite spices, so I always have it). Shaoxing wine I had to buy, but I make this so often now that I'm already on my second bottle. Despite the seemingly long ingredient list, it's easy to make too. It helps to have all the ingredients measured out and ready before you cook so that it goes fast. The result is unbelievably good: savory and salty yet sweet. Eat it with a side of plain brown rice, and some stir-fried greens. A keeper.

AuthorAnn Gaffney
RatingDifficultyIntermediate

Pan glazed tofu is my new fave.  It gives plain tofu a richness of flavor I hardly thought possible. 

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Pan Glazed Tofu
Yields2 Servings
Prep Time25 minsCook Time25 minsTotal Time50 mins
 1 block medium firm or firm tofu(see Ann's Tips)
 sea salt
 1 tbsp peanut or grapeseed oil
 2 tbsp sugar
 2 tbsp water
 1 piece star anise
 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine ( see Ann's Tips)
 2 tbsp soy sauce
 ½ tsp maple syrup or molasses
 ½ cup water or clear veggie stock
 2 or 3 dried red chilies
 ½ inch ginger root, thinly sliced
 1 to 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
 4 scallions, white parts cut into 1/2 " pieces, greens thinly sliced
1

Drain the tofu: Place the tofu slices between 2 cutting boards. Place by the sink raising one end so that the tofu will drain straight into the sink. Put a weight on the top board to press down on the tofu - I use a full water filter jug. Leave for about 15-20 minutes while you prep and measure all the other ingredients.

2

Remove the tofu from between the boards and pat dry. Using your index and middle fingers, gently rub sea salt into the cut sides of the tofu. Heat the oil over a medium-high flame in a medium nonstick pan or seasoned skillet. When it is hot, almost smoking, put the tofu in the pan salted cut side down. Cook about 4-5 minutes or until brown. Flip to cook the other side. When browned, set aside on a plate.

3

Using the same hot pan, add the water, sugar and star anise. It will spit and hiss so be careful. Turn heat down to medium and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is turning amber and starting to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes.

4

Add the wine, soy sauce, maple syrup, water, chilies, ginger and garlic to the pan. (See Ann’s Tips) Again it will hiss and spit. Raise the flame to medium-high. Cook until the liquid starts to look syrupy, about 5 -7 minutes. While the sauce is cooking down, crumble the reserved tofu into medium size pieces - they shouldn’t be too small. Set aside.

5

Add the tofu pieces and the white parts of the scallions to the thickened sauce. Stir to coat. Cook about 5-10 minutes or until the tofu looks brown and glazed and the sauce sticky. Sprinkle with the sliced scallion greens and serve immediately.

Ann's Tips
6

-Tofu is full of water. Draining it does 2 things: 1) it allows marinades and sauces to penetrate and flavor the tofu when you bake, or as here braise it; 2) it makes the tofu easier to grill or fry since it won't so easily stick.
- Medium-firm or firm tofu work best for this recipe.
-Dry sherry can be substituted for Shaoxing wine.
- Prep for step 4: Stir together in a bowl the measures of wine, soy, maple syrup, and water, then add the chilies, ginger, and garlic. When ready, tip the whole thing into the pan at once
- I sometimes sub the scallions for the tender white parts of leeks, quartered and cut into pieces as per recipe.
- if you want more sauce simply double the sugar and all the wet ingredients.

Ingredients

 1 block medium firm or firm tofu(see Ann's Tips)
 sea salt
 1 tbsp peanut or grapeseed oil
 2 tbsp sugar
 2 tbsp water
 1 piece star anise
 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine ( see Ann's Tips)
 2 tbsp soy sauce
 ½ tsp maple syrup or molasses
 ½ cup water or clear veggie stock
 2 or 3 dried red chilies
 ½ inch ginger root, thinly sliced
 1 to 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
 4 scallions, white parts cut into 1/2 " pieces, greens thinly sliced

Directions

1

Drain the tofu: Place the tofu slices between 2 cutting boards. Place by the sink raising one end so that the tofu will drain straight into the sink. Put a weight on the top board to press down on the tofu - I use a full water filter jug. Leave for about 15-20 minutes while you prep and measure all the other ingredients.

2

Remove the tofu from between the boards and pat dry. Using your index and middle fingers, gently rub sea salt into the cut sides of the tofu. Heat the oil over a medium-high flame in a medium nonstick pan or seasoned skillet. When it is hot, almost smoking, put the tofu in the pan salted cut side down. Cook about 4-5 minutes or until brown. Flip to cook the other side. When browned, set aside on a plate.

3

Using the same hot pan, add the water, sugar and star anise. It will spit and hiss so be careful. Turn heat down to medium and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is turning amber and starting to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes.

4

Add the wine, soy sauce, maple syrup, water, chilies, ginger and garlic to the pan. (See Ann’s Tips) Again it will hiss and spit. Raise the flame to medium-high. Cook until the liquid starts to look syrupy, about 5 -7 minutes. While the sauce is cooking down, crumble the reserved tofu into medium size pieces - they shouldn’t be too small. Set aside.

5

Add the tofu pieces and the white parts of the scallions to the thickened sauce. Stir to coat. Cook about 5-10 minutes or until the tofu looks brown and glazed and the sauce sticky. Sprinkle with the sliced scallion greens and serve immediately.

Ann's Tips
6

-Tofu is full of water. Draining it does 2 things: 1) it allows marinades and sauces to penetrate and flavor the tofu when you bake, or as here braise it; 2) it makes the tofu easier to grill or fry since it won't so easily stick.
- Medium-firm or firm tofu work best for this recipe.
-Dry sherry can be substituted for Shaoxing wine.
- Prep for step 4: Stir together in a bowl the measures of wine, soy, maple syrup, and water, then add the chilies, ginger, and garlic. When ready, tip the whole thing into the pan at once
- I sometimes sub the scallions for the tender white parts of leeks, quartered and cut into pieces as per recipe.
- if you want more sauce simply double the sugar and all the wet ingredients.

Pan Glazed Tofu

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