Tofu, love it or hate it? My mother introduced me to Tofu years ago when I was still living in Philippines. She was advised to avoid eating pork and so Tofu became her best friend. There is only one way that she likes to cook tofu, and that’s by dicing it and frying it until the outside is crunchy while the inside is still soft. It doesn’t have a taste in its own, it’s bland and that’s the thing with tofu. Tofu relies on the sauce or the dip to give it flavor and taste. The only way I would eat it is if comes with this spicy vinegar and soy sauce dip, now that gets me going eating it. For a long time, we’ve always enjoyed tofu that way.
But the good news is that is not the only way to enjoy it, there’s so many ways to cook tofu, I wouldn’t live long to be able to make all of it. I’ve made quite a few tofu dish, the likes of Tofu Curry, Eggplant and Tofu and stir Fry Tofu and Broccoli. I know that this is just the beginning of many more tofu dishes.
Today we’re cooking tofu in a different way, and its perfect way specially for summer season or BBQ season. For our Meat Free Monday, were doing Grilled Tofu Skewers or kebab. Very light, healthy and colorful simple dish. This batch can make 8 skewers, you can double it up to make more as I find it nice for weekday lunch as well.
Preparing the Tofu
To begin with, you need to marinate the tofu first, because tofu doesn’t have a taste on its own. I made my own mix of marinate, it’s not strict so you can mix and match whatever dressing that you have. Sometimes I just use my ready-made vinaigrette dressing. The important thing is just marinate or toss it in spices before grilling it. I used 350g tofu and I had it cut into cubes of 32 pieces. You want to cut it about 1/3 inch, not too thin because it will break when you thread it in the skewers if it’s thin. Not too think because it will not get cook easily. For the vegetables, used mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. You can also use baby potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, Brussels sprouts or any vegetable that you can thread in the skewers. Now the skewers. I’m using the wooden skewers but the best one to use are the stainless steel skewers m, they don’t get burnt along the way.
Preparing the Wooden Skewers
I’m using the wooden skewers because I don’t have the stainless steel one, but if you have the later that’s a better option because it don’t get burnt plus it’s re-usable which is awesome. Anyway, I’m hoping to get one of those, hopefully soon. For using, when using a wooden skewers it helps to submerge the skewers in water at least 1 hour before using it. The more water it absorbs, the better so leave it as long as possible. If you don’t have time to do this, which happened a lot of times to me what you can do is to wrap the end of the skewers with aluminum foil just for protection. Be careful though is touching it because it gets really hot, but at least it will not get burnt.
Time to do the threading of the tofu and vegetables. You can do it in the order that you like, there is no right or wrong here. Sometimes I even grill only the tofu on it’s own and grill all the vegetables separately. Instead of cubes, you can also cut it horizontally as long as it is not too thick but not too thin that it will break when threaded. Last but not the least, brush the threaded tofu and vegetables with marinade or spray it with oil to moisten it and it grills nicely too.
Hot greased grill please. I always do this regardless of what I am grilling. Just like baking you also need to pre-heat and grease the grill before using it to avoid sticking, it will also give a nice browning. So don’t forget to skip this step, although tofu it not as sensitive to sticking as compare to meat.
You can enjoy it however you want to. Have it on its own, mix it with noodles but serving it with rice is my favorite way. However you plan to serve it, don’t forget to make the dipping sauce. I made mine by simply mixing rice vinegar, a sweeter milder kind of vinegar plus soy sauce and chopped onions and jalapeno peppers just the way my mom used to make it for her fried tofu.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tap salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- I/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 pack firm or super firm
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar or any white vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp chopped red onion
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp chopped jalapeno pepper or 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
- Prepare Skewers: If using wooden skewers, submerge the skewers into water at least 1 hour OR wrap the end with aluminum foil.
- Cut and Marinade Tofu: Cut the tofu into cubes not too thin or not too thick, about , about 1/3-inch thickness. I was able to end up with 32 pieces. You can also cut it horizontally if you want a bigger piece. Add oil, salt, paprika, turmeric powder, sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir. Pour into the tofu and mix until tofu are evenly coated. Set aside to marinate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour or better yet do it in advance and cover and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Pre-heat Grill: Grease and pre-heat the grill for 15 minutes of until it reaches 400F.
- Threading: Thread the tofu and vegetables of your choice in the order that you prefer. Do this until all are used up and threaded.
- Grill: Grill the skewers about 8-10 minutes each side checking from time to time to make sure the vegetables are not getting too burnt.
- Dipping Sauce: Mix all ingredients together and let sit for few minutes to dissolve the sugar.
Makes 8 skewers
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