Our home is a space of love, and in this space, we are doing out best not to consume animal meat. We have been phasing out eating animals for a while now, except for the occasional shrimp taco night and treating ourselves to oysters at brunch. We are a work in progress, although I am not sure if we will ever stop eating fish completely, maybe as we become more educated it will happen. But for now, I am very pleased with not eating our hairy, furry, and feathered friends.
With that being said, this blog is going to take a bit of a turn and will feature more vegetarian meals. So to kick things off, I am bringing you Sesame Crusted Tofu with delicious Hell Fire Sauce. When you hear the term “Hellfire” you typically think of a brand of hot sauce to add to Mexican themed meals. Well, two good friends of my created an incredible Asian cause that packs the HEAT! Or doesn’t, it’s completely customizable to your taste. This recipe goes out to them! I am not sure I could ever get them to eat it though, damn carnivores. But, I think if I could cook it for them, they might make tofu more than they currently do (never). So this one also goes out to anyone wanting to give meatless protein a try.
• a handful of cilantro
• 2 cloves garlic (I skip this because I am sensitive to garlic)
• 3 birds eye chilis (or more or less, depending on your spice level)
• 1 red or green jalapeno
• 3 green onions
• 1 lime
SPICES & CONDIMENTS
• 1/3 C fish sauce (we use Red Boat)
• 2-4 TBS nutritional yeast
• 4 TBS vegetable oil
• 4 TBS black sesame seeds
• 4 TBS sesame seeds
• 1-2 TBS sesame seeds
• 4-5 TBS panko (we used gluten free)
• ½ TBS tamari (soy sauce)
• 1-2 TBS sesame oil
• 1 TBS sugar (or more if you want sweeter sauce)
• 2 blocks organic tofu
1: Drain the tofu.
I usually let tofu drain for as long as possible. Which means sometimes I come home and drain it first thing while I do things around the house before I start cooking, but even if you only let this drain 15 minutes, everything should turn out okay.
How do you drain tofu? Put your creative hat on! Look around your kitchen for heavy objects, if you have a cast iron pan or two, they will work perfectly! Otherwise, a plate with some canned food on top works well too. Take two plates and line each with at least 5 paper towels. Then set one block of tofu on each plate. Top the tofu with at least 5 paper towels and place your weighted objects on top. Leave these on top until you’re ready to start prepping the tofu.
2: Create the Hell Fire Sauce.
Finely chop cilantro, garlic, and birds eye chili and combine in a medium-sized bowl. Slice the lime in half and add the juice to the bowl. Slice the jalapeno into rounds and add them to the bowl. Add 1 TBS sesame oil, 1/3 C fish sauce, 1 TBS sugar, and ½ TBS sesame oil to the bowl. Mix well and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 mins. Stir and taste. Add more lime for tartness, soy sauce for salt, sesame oil for oil and sugar for sweetness. If you are looking for spice add additional chilis. Keep this cool until ready to serve.
3: Prep tofu.
Take one brick of tofu and stand it up, with the skinny side down. Slice the tofu down the middle to make the tofu the same size but thinner. This way it will heat faster in the pan and not be a giant mouthful of tofu when you bite into it.
4: Prep the tofu crust.
You’ll need two rectangle dishes. I used two glass tupperware containers. In one dish mix one egg with 1 TSP of water and in the second dish, mix all of your dry ingredients (all sesame seeds, panko, salt and nutritional yeast).
5: Start dunkin!
Dunk the tofu into the egg (one by one), make sure to cover each piece fully with egg (think of this like making french toast). Then take the tofu and dip it in your dry ingredients. I found it best to use a spoon to spoon the dry ingredients on top of the tofu to ensure that it will be fully crusted. Set it on a plate until you’ve completed crusting all of the tofu.
6: Let’s get cookin’.
Add 3-4 TBS of veggie oil into a frying pan and heat it to medium-high heat. Using a pair of tongs, place the tofu into the pan. I was able to cook about 8 at a time, but this will differ depending on your size pan. After a few minutes check to see if the bottom of the tofu is browning, once it gets to your desired crispness, flip the tofu. You’ll want to do this to each side of the tofu, even the skinny edges. Complete frying each piece and serve warm with Hell Fire Sauce for dipping. Garnish with green onions & cilantro Enjoy!