It occurred to me the other day that it’s been almost nine years ago this month since we moved to Boston from the southern part of the US. I will never forget my first trip into downtown Boston: everything seemed so big, so overwhelming and so fast. Everything and everybody seemed to be on a singular mission to move forward, no matter who or what was around them. It took a little time to get used to this intense flow of movement around me, but I now love being a part of it whenever I make my way into the city.
As fall approaches, I especially want to savor every aspect of it, from the clean feel and crisp scent of the air, to the crunch of leaves under my feet, and the relief that the oppressive heat of summer will soon be forgotten. With the changes going on outside, my kitchen also goes through its own transformation. It ceases to be a humid space that I simply tolerate to one that draws me in, whispering requests to bake bread, babysit soup and layer casseroles, and offers complex aromas and cozy warmth in return.
Although we have a few weeks to go until the chillier weather is here to stay, I’ve been enjoying making fall-friendly dishes like this one on the cooler days. This viscous sauce offers a medley of colors and textures, leaving behind a clean and spicy finish. Dragging the tofu through the sauce is heavenly, and this recipe yields plenty to mop up with noodles or rice at the end.Print
QUICK AND EASY CARROT-GINGER TOFU
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings
for the sauce
- 1 TB sesame oil
- 1 TB finely minced ginger
- 2 TB finely minced garlic
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 3 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB rice vinegar
- 3 TB raw agave syrup
- 1 TB sriracha (optional)
- 1 TB cornstarch, dissolved in 3 TB cold water
for the tofu
- 1 block firm tofu
- 1 TB vegetable or canola oil
- 1 large carrot, sliced on a mandoline slicer
- soba noodles or rice, for serving
- black and white sesame seeds
- Place the sesame oil, minced ginger and garlic into a small saucepan and soften over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Do not allow it to brown. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients, except for the cornstarch and water slurry. Allow it to come to a small simmer, then remove from the heat.
- Cut the tofu into 4 thick slabs, then cut each slab in half to make 8 squares.
- Place a large circular non-stick, flat bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil into the pan, then fan the tofu around the edges of the pan in a single layer (like the petals on a daisy), leaving the center area open. Place a lid over the top and allow the tofu to caramelize for about 10 minutes, undisturbed. It will pop and sputter due to the high heat and moisture in the tofu.
- After the initial 10 minute caramelization is complete, lift the lid straight up carefully (if you tilt the lid, the collected condensation in the lip will drip into the pan, causing more sputtering, so use caution.) Carefully flip the tofu (it will pop and sizzle), cover and allow to caramelize on the other side undisturbed for about 3 minutes. Remove the lid again by pulling it straight up. By this time, most of the water should be expressed/absorbed, so you can now leave the lid off. Continue to monitor the tofu until the desired level of caramelization is achieved on both sides.
- Add the cornstarch slurry to the saucepan, stir well, then pour it into a pan with the tofu. Keep everything moving around with a rubber spatula to avoid any scorching of the sauce. It will thicken after a minute or two. Remove from the heat, then sprinkle with the carrot slices and stir to combine.
- Serve immediately with rice or noodles, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
That looks so good! I adore Boston in the fall. I've been totally craving food like this–warm, spicy, and comforting–even if the weather this week doesn't agree with me!
Thanks! Yes, I am totally over this week's weather as well, but cooler times are starting tomorrow! : )
Wow, these tofus look and sound amazing. I don't often cook with these flavors… I like them, they just don't occur to me naturally. It definitely requires a recipe for me to be confident in this arena. I love that this is easy and tasty. Thanks!! 🙂
Wow, that sounds delicious! And they look so beautiful. 🙂
Angela @ Canned-Time.com says
So delicious and savory! On my short list now, thanks!
This looks absolutely amazing!
Brilliant photos – this looks incredible!
Unprocessed People says
Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful photography!
Leila A. Fortier says
Funny, I have this grocery list I have been compiling the past few days for my next trip into town so that I can make your fauxlafal and jackfruit soft tacos. I was excited when you posted this one because I already had all the ingredients needed! What a splendid surprise with this one! What I found special about it, was that it was so easy to make while still maintaining the visual aesthetics and decadent taste of which is your signature in more complicated, time intensive recipes. I love the process of making all your recipes–no matter how involved. For me, it is like meditation. I love the process as much as I love the results and indulgence. But last night was perfect because time got away from me, yet I was still able to relish in a gourmet meal without the added time. AND it was yet another hit with my carnivorous husband! Thank you:)
I am overjoyed that you like making the recipes as much as you enjoy eating them! That's what I love about cooking, and I am thrilled that that experience can be shared. Thanks so much as always for trying the recipes out and your very kind feedback!
YUM! this is fantastic!
I just made this tonight for dinner and it was a hit! We loved it. I didn't have any siracha so used crushed red pepper instead and still great! My husband thinks we should double the recipe for more sauce since he is such a big sauce guy unlike me! It was just enough.
Maureen, so happy you tried it out and liked it! Thanks for your feedback. I agree with your husband — the more sauce the better, especially when you can slather it over noodles or rice too. : )
you tofu dishes always look so pretty. i really need to make this. it just might change my opinion about tofu:)
Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! says
Dudette, these pictures and this recipe look INSANE. Just gorgeous, seriously. I don't really care for fresh ginger but I'd suck it up for this recipe. 😉
Thanks Jackie! I saw your video on Cadry's site (awesome, BTW) where you mention that. Aw, I love french ginger, and crunching it between my teeth, lol!
Carly Mwah says
I made this last night with tempeh (because I didn't have tofu) and my goodness it is just delicious! I love the sweet, salty and sticky sauce.
So happy you enjoyed, Carly! I was wondering if tempeh would work too, and now I know. Thanks for your feedback!
Sticky ginger tofu is one of my favorites, and you make it so beautifully.
I made this for dinner tonight and let me tell you SO GOOD!!! I am a sauce person and this sauce gave me everything I never knew I needed. Please note I hate cooking, but I will suffer through it just to make this.
So happy you enjoyed! Aw, don't hate cooking — it's so fun & relaxing, and you get good stuff at the end! : )
I hardly ever read a recipe and then make it the same day, but I did when I saw this! It was absolutely gorgeous, and my partner raved about it! I made a few changes – I stir-fried a little onion and celery before adding the ginger/garlic for the sauce, and I used apple juice instead of Mirin (my partner doesn't drink, so no wine in the cooking either!) and I boiled a little brocolli with the noodles to add some extra veg and a splash of colour. It was really gorgeous! I've never made a sauce like this before, but I will be making it again and again! I was hoping to have left overs for my lunch the next day, but my partner devoured the lot! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂
Pixie, I am thrilled you made this and liked! Love your adjustments, and thanks for your kind feedback!