recipe + photo by Betty Liu
Like everyone, I have my set of go-to weeknight meals. One that is especially easy and delicious that I make almost every week is braised tofu. Braising is a very common technique in Chinese cooking and tofu is quick and easy to braise. Extra firm tofu is drained, lightly fried, and then braised in a salty sweet sauce of maple syrup and soy sauce. Serve it simply with fresh scallions or for a bit more substance, over rice.
1 12-ounce package extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 bunch fresh scallions, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish
1. Prepare tofu. Slice tofu into 1/2-inch slices, width-wise, and place on a paper towel-lined plate in a single layer. Allow excess moisture to drain.
2. Make sauce. In a small bowl, add maple syrup, soy sauce, water, garlic, and sesame oil and whisk until combined.
3. Julienne green parts of scallions and place in a small bowl of cold water. Allow to sit and curl up (for garnish).
4. In a non-stick pan, heat oil over medium heat. When oil is thoroughly heated (a drop of water will skid over its surface), gently place tofu in a single layer, reserving sauce. Allow to sit, untouched, until bottom is golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Turn tofu and repeat until other side of each is golden brown.
5. Pour sauce evenly over tofu and reduce heat to low. Simmer for another 5 minutes, turning tofu once halfway, until sauce reduces and thickens.
6. Place remaining pieces of scallions on a serving platter. Place tofu on top and drizzle with sauce. Top with sesame seeds and julienned scallions and serve.
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