If you freeze super-firm tofu, defrost it, then press out every last drop of moisture—you’ll be left with something you can squish with your fingers, quick-marinate, then fry up nicely in a cast iron pan.
The result is a kind of fluffy, weirdly-textured-in-a-good-way product that is great sprinkled over noodles, used as an eggy substitute or packed into a sushi roll. I’ve used it here to create a curry and lemongrass-kissed pizza topping that mingles beautifully with this spicy peanut sauce, carrots, scallions and cilantro.
SPICY THAI-STYLE PIZZA WITH PEANUT SAUCE
Yield 2 10-inch pizzas
This recipe uses a dough recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt, author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab and Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats. It’s the easiest, poofiest best pizza dough recipe I’ve ever tried, and worked beautifully baked right in a cast-iron pan.
1 recipe pizza dough or prepared vegan pizza crust
FOR THE TOFU
- 1 package super-firm tofu, cut into 4 slabs, frozen, then left out at room temperature until fully thawed
- 1 TB canola oil
- 1 TB mirin
- 2 lemongrass hearts, chopped (reserve tough outer stems for making tea or soup later)
- 3 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- a few pinches of habanero power (optional)
FOR THE PEANUT SAUCE
- 1 TB sesame oil
- small red onion, chopped
- 1 TB fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
- 2 TB brown sugar
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2-4 scallions, chopped (separate the white parts from the green parts)
- 1-2 carrots, chopped into matchsticks
- 1/3 cup crushed peanuts
- handful of cilantro
TO PREPARE THE TOFU
- press the frozen and thawed slabs of tofu with your hands until there is no moisture left. Crumble well and set aside.
- Place the rest of the tofu ingredients into a medium-sized pyrex and stir until combined. Place the tofu into the marinade and toss around until well coated. Set aside to marinade while you prepare the peanut sauce.
TO MAKE THE PEANUT SAUCE
- Heat the sesame oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and allow to sweat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding in a little bit of water if the onion starts to stick. Add in the ginger and simmer for 1-2 minutes more.
- Add in the curry powder, give it a good stir to coat, then add in the coconut milk. Bring to a small simmer, then add in the peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, and stirring more often towards the end. Set aside. It will thicken as it cools.
TO BAKE THE PIZZA
- Preheat your oven to 500-550 if making the linked pizza dough, half it, and press it into a well-oiled 10-inch cast iron pan. You can freeze the other half if desired.
- If using your own prepared pizza crust, use whatever temperature is recommended or indicated on the package.
- While your oven is preheating, brown your tofu by sauteing it in a little oil until crispy around the edges. Remove from the heat.
- Bake the pizza unadorned for about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and add about 3/4 cup of the peanut sauce over the top, then add the browned tofu crumbles, scallions (the white parts only) and carrots, then bake for about 10 minutes more, keeping an eye on it towards the end to avoid any burning.
- Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool. Top with the cilantro, crushed peanuts and sriracha as desired. Serve warm.