Simple Soyman. Frozen, defrosted.
When the block was fully defrosted, I sliced it into 4 fat slices and gently pressed out at much extra water as I could. Then, I let it sop up a marinade - which it did in no time - exactly like a sponge should. After cooked, it was still vaguely sponge-like, but flavorful, and keeping it's nice, toothsome texture even overnight. It's definitely a trick I'll use again.
The idea of the original Moosewood recipe is to top a green salad with the marinated and baked tofu, fresh (or canned) pineapple, a vinegary dressing, and plenty of peanuts, carrots and bean sprouts. Instead, I tossed the tofu with pineapple, cilantro, shredded carrots and a touch of oil. Then I made Nell's peanut sauce, improvising with what I had in the pantry. I daresay that I'd serve these to my chef friend, and be quite proud of them!
You can certainly use fresh tofu that has been weighted and pressed for a half hour to remove moisture instead of freezing it first. The texture will be different, maybe preferable to you.
Spicy Tofu Pineapple Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce (inspired by Moosewood Daily Special and Nell Benton)
For the tofu: freeze one block (about a pound) of fresh (not silken) tofu. A day or many days later, defrost (under refrigeration) and cut into 4 equal slices. Press out any extra liquid and set aside to make the marinade.
Tofu Marinade (eyeball everything into the pan you will use to bake in)
- 1/4 c. shoyu (or similar soy sauce) (I used about 2 T. with good result)
- 2 T. rice vinegar
- 1 T. veg oil
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 2 t. fresh grated ginger
- a chile pepper, minced (or dried red chile flakes to taste and home canned candied jalapeno juice like I used)
Preheat oven to 400. Turn the tofu over a few times to fully coat it in the marinade, it will soak it all up if you have first frozen the block. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the first side is seared and toasty looking, then flip and bake about 20 minutes longer until the other side matches. (When the tofu cooks, mix up the peanut sauce - see below.) Cool slightly, cut into cubes, and place in a bowl.
To the tofu bowl, add about as much pineapple as you have tofu, or less if you like things less sweet. Add one or two shredded carrots, some cilantro to taste and maybe some more chile flake. Use right away or refrigerate for later use.
To make the spring rolls, soak spring roll wrappers one at a time (I got this kind, locally, at a much better price...) in cool water for a minute to soften. Put it on a plate, add the filling, sprinkle with roasted peanuts, and fold and roll up kind of as you would a burrito. Serve immediately with peanut sauce.
Peanut Sauce (again, this is eyeballed)
- 1/2 c. coconut milk (I used some of the thickened coconut "butter" that sometimes forms when you make homemade, it made it nicely creamy)
- 2 T. peanut butter
- 1 T. red curry spice (I used dried, Nell recommends Masaman curry paste)
- 1 T. fish sauce
- lime juice
- 1 T. sugar (I just got some jaggery, and used it)
Heat all ingredients gently in a small saucepan, taking care not to bring to a boil. Taste to adjust seasonings.
My final thoughts on frozen tofu? Use it as a preservation method if you have a block that is close to expiring or if you are going to cook or bake it into something that has a lot of flavor. But if you are a texturally challenged eater, you may not be too enthused. As for these spring rolls, I love them, and will without a doubt be making them again.