Baked Tofu and Pickled Vegetable Rice Bowl is a modern version of one of my childhood favorites. Growing up I was a very picky eater with a limited and perplexing range of favorites. On the top of my list was fried tofu with ketchup, a crunchy and comforting dish. I have happy memories of gobbling mounds of golden cubes dunked liberally with organic green tomato ketchup. To my parents great relief, my eating repertoire has evolved a bit since then, but my love for tofu remains.
Paul on the other hand, has a grown-up aversion to tofu. Whenever I cook with tofu, he expresses a strong concern that I am covertly working to turn him into a vegetarian, his own personal horror! Despite himself, Paul scraped his bowl clean and gives this dish two thumbs up. This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz, Linda Ziedrich, and Joe Yonan.
Serving: 2 large servings, can easily adjust amount of tofu or toppings to serve more
- 1 pound firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 teaspoons peeled minced fresh ginger
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or hot sauce of your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon corn starch *do not add to marinade
- 2 small beets, peeled, grated, raw
- 2 medium black radish, unpeeled, grated, raw
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, grated, raw
- 1 teaspoon pickling salt
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon peeled, grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- The first step is to press the moisture from the tofu to allow for a firmer texture and better marinade saturation. Sandwich the tofu between cutting boards with plenty of paper towel on either side of the tofu to soak up the water that squeezes out. Place heavy items (such as canned food) on top of the upper cutting board. Let this strange looking monument stand for 30 minutes to press the tofu.
- Whisk together the ingredients in the tofu marinade (sesame oil, soy sauce, water, garlic, ginger, hoisin, cayenne and salt), and pour into a large container that can accommodate the tofu pieces. Remove the tofu from the press, and add to the marinade. Refrigerate the tofu for at least 1 hour.
- Time to pickle your vegetables. Whisk the pickling liquid ingredients (salt, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, ginger, sugar) together. Divide pickling liquid into two bowls. Put carrots and radishes in one bowl and beets in another (to keep everything from turning red). Allow the vegetables to sit in the pickling liquid for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Remove the tofu from the marinade and spread out on a cutting board. Save the marinade to serve over rice as a sauce (if desired). Dust the tofu with corn starch, coating both sides. The easiest way to do this is to dump the cornstarch in a mesh strainer and tap the strainer to dust each tofu piece, this allows for a more even and thin coating.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat and place the corn starched tofu pieces on the baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, flipping the pieces mid-way through cooking and rotating your baking sheet as necessary to ensure even browning. Remove from oven when your tofu looks golden brown and delicious.
- To serve, fill bowls with rice, top with baked tofu, eggs, pickled vegetables, green onions, sesame seeds, and reserved marinade/sauce.