The Gastronomist Manifesto

Chefs of the World Unite!

Sesame-Glazed Tofu and Roasted Napa Cabbage

Tonight I revisted more Asian themes. This time moving in a slightly more Chinese direction. Mostly I was just hungry and wanted to play around. I had some napa cabbage in the fridge that needed to be used up and my pantry is still pretty light except for things like soy sauce and sesame oil. Picked up some tofu from the store, plus a carrot and some sesame seeds and was able to come up with this…

sesame tofu and roast cabbage

Not exactly the prettiest thing with it’s dull orange, green and brown tones. Almost monochomatic. But pretty happy nonetheless with the taste.

Started with the cabbage. Preheated oven to 375. Meanwhile split the cabbage I had lengthwise. Made a quick dressing of oil, a dash of sesame oil, minced clove of garlic and salt. This went onto the cabbage, making sure to get the garlic into those leaves. When the oven got hot, the cabbage went in (45 minutes in my dish, but it maybe could’ve gone for an hour.) Came out as such

roast bok choy

As for the tofu. I had this idea that I thought was genius. The trick everyone knows for frying tofu is that you have to get the water out of it, otherwise it’s just steamed in oil, not crusty and golden. The popular method is to press it with a weight, sandwiched between towels, which works fine I suppose. But I thought I could do better using a common household item: a space heater. I made a rig out of a wire rack and the empty tofu container (to trap water.)

tofu and space heater

Overall, I was happy with the results! After first doing a quick press with some towels to get the bulk of the moisture out, it went onto my rig. An occasional turn here and there to keep the drying even. After maybe half an hour it felt right. So into a hot (med-hot) pan with some oil. Didn’t take long to start browning, which I could see along the edges of the tofu near the pan. One flip and then the other side.

tofu fried

DONE!

The “glaze” as I’m calling it was pretty simple. If you’re wondering why there isn’t any ginger, because I think once in a while it would nice for sesame and ginger to have some time apart. They’re co-dependent and they need to focus on their individuality now and then. Though, admittedly, ginger would’ve been good.

2 teaspoons of ketchup

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

a good pinch of sesame seeds

Stir and spread over hot tofu.

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