In my attempts to eat healthier when not dining out, I have been trying to think of filling vegetarian dishes to make at home. Because of deadlines and pure laziness, 7 out of the last 8 meals I made at home was farfalle with cherry tomatoes and olives. And as much as I love pasta, and this oh-so-fragrant Palestinian olive oil Jacob brought back from his last trip to NYC, my stomach was crying out for a change.
I love that in China every market has no less than 5 or 6 kinds of tofu available, ranging from the silky soft kind you steam to extra extra firm bits meant for braising. For this Caramelized Tofu and Almond Salad Bowl, you can use either regular extra firm tofu blocks (the kind usually found in supermarkets in the States) or drier tofu skin squares (China or Chinatown.) Just cook the latter for a few minutes longer.
The caramelized sauce that results from sautéing the tofu in this recipe ends up being a delicious dressing for the salad. Vegetable-wise, I used a very basic mix of lettuce and shredded carrots, but you can also add mushrooms, sprouts, edamame, etc. for variety.
So easy, so filling.
More Chinese tofu recipes to try:
Caramelized Tofu and Almond Salad Bowl
A few handfuls of shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
1 handful shredded or julienned carrots
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
8 ounces (about half a block) extra firm tofu sliced into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
Salt to taste
Toss together lettuce and carrots (and other optional vegetables.) Divide into two bowls and set aside.
In a wok or large skillet, heat cooking oil. Sauté, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar and water; bring mixture to simmer while stirring to break up the sugar pieces and avoid scorching. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced, and salt to taste. Remove tofu and sauce and divide between the two lettuce bowls. Top with chopped almonds and serve.