There are lots of things to marinate tofu in but, to maximize flavor, you can always follow one approach for good results: water out, marinade in. If you don’t get out all of the moisture in the tofu, two things happen: the marinade can’t get all up in there, and the marinade gets all watered down. Don’t do this to tofu … cut it, then towel press it! Be like Tofu B.
This marinade is a chunky+spicy blend of sambal, ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil and other stuff. The tofu is marinated, then transferred to a hot cast iron pan to develop a little sear, then the marinade is dumped into the mix to slightly reduce and make a luscious sauce to serve alongside slightly wilted bok choy.
Serve it with rice or noodles (or even mashed potatoes!) and a little vegan kimchi for some funky crunch on the side for a super fast+delicious weeknight dinner!
Sambal + Ginger Tofu with Air-Fried Bok Choy
Yield 2 servings
for the marinade + tofu
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 3 TB toasted sesame oil
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB sambal
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 4-6 cloves garlic grated on a microplane grater
- 1 piece of thumb-sized ginger, grated on a microplane grater
- 1 block firm tofu, cut into 6-8 evenly sized slabs and towel pressed for about two hours
for the rest
- 2-4 heads of baby bok choy, base sliced off
- prepared rice or noodles
- sesame seeds
- scallions, thai chilis and/or vegan kimchi
to make the marinade
- Combine all marinade ingredients except for the tofu in a medium-sized glass pyrex.
- Place the properly cut and pressed tofu into the marinade, flipping to cover on both sides.
- Place into refrigerator for a few hours, flipping after 2 or 3 hours to ensure even coverage.
to cook the tofu + reduce the marinade
- Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Place the tofu into the hot pan and allow to brown on one side (no more than 2-3 minutes per side). Flip and repeat on the other side.
- Remove the tofu, then pour the remaining marinade into the cast iron pan. Allow to sizzle until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
to prepare the bok choy
- Place the bok choy into an air fryer set at 350 until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.
- You can alternatively wilt the bok choy in a hot pan with a little oil.
- Distribute the tofu onto two plates. Drizzle the reduced sauce over both. Add the bok choy and rice/noodles as desired, along with sesame seeds, sliced scallions and kimchi. Serve immediately.