Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baked Tofu with Asian Peanut Sauce

I am about to rock your world. Are you ready?

Take out a block of tofu, shake off the water, put it in a plastic baggie, and put it in the freezer.

Say what?!?!

What do you mean I don’t have to spend 12-18 hours pressing the hell out of a block of tofu to get the water out? That is the only way to do it right?

Now I know some people don’t love this method of preparing tofu, but I have found it to be pretty great. Before I tried this, baking tofu just never worked for me. It never had the “fried-like” consistency that I love. 

Since I am not trying not to be a super chub and fry tofu every time I make it, I use this method and it works pretty well for me.

I have been making tofu this way, almost exclusively, for about a month and I am a big fan. When it’s done it has a really good "meaty" consistency and  you can add pretty much any sauce to it. I made this particular version with a super easy peanut sauce.

Recipe and more photos, after the jump…

Baked Tofu Nuggets

1 14 oz package of extra-firm tofu
1/2 cup (or so) bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 cup (or so) water

Unwrap the tofu and shake off any excess moisture. Place the tofu in a freezer bag or wrap well in plastic, then freeze the sealed tofu for at least 24 hours.

The next day, thaw the tofu by placing it—unwrapped—into a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl and microwave on high for about 4-5 minutes. Stop the microwave about every 90 seconds to gently press out the excess water and empty the water out of the bowl. Make sure tofu doesn’t cook in the microwave. You just want to press out as much water as you can. Once thoroughly defrosted, gently squeeze out any excess moisture one more time and cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, add the bread crumbs and spices, mixing well. In a separate bowl, pour 1/2 cup of water.

Dip each piece of tofu first into the water, lightly shake off any excess water, and then coat with the seasoned bread crumbs.

Put the breaded tofu cubes on a lightly oiled baking pan and baked 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. (see CV note on baking pan)

Once completed, toss with favorite sauce.

Asian Peanut Sauce
Source: Jolinda Hackett, About.com

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
2 tbsp rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat (mixture will become easy to combine as peanut butter melts). Continue stirring over low heat until ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth and creamy. This recipe is perfect as it is, but you may want to thin it out a bit with more water, depending on what you're using it for.

Chubby Vegan Notes
  • I always use a stoneware pan to bake this tofu on. I don’t really know if it makes a difference, but I think it does. Therefore, I recommend it.
  • If you don’t make your own breadcrumbs from vegan bread, read the ingredients of most commercial breadcrumbs carefully; many are not vegan. I use the Trader Joe’s breadcrumbs.
  • When I press out the tofu, I use a heavy kitchen towel and lightly press on the top. Don’t overkill the tofu, its okay if there is still a little bit of water in it. About 4 -5 minutes total is all you should need.
  • You can add some minced ginger or an Asian chili sauce to the peanut sauce for a nice little kick, maybe about a teaspoon.
  • I doubled the peanut sauce recipe for one block of tofu, but definitely had extra sauce. If you want to bathe naked in peanut butter, double it. If not, make it the way it is.
  • I served these with a plate of broccoli and rice noodles. Yum!


  1. OMG this looks so good! I'm going to have to make it ASAP! :D

  2. Tell me what you think if you do! It is super easy and yummy!

  3. very interesting! we made a tofu stir fry over the weekend, and Guy complained while making it about how watery the tofu was. we'll try this next time, if I can remember to plan ahead.

  4. These nuggets look awesome! I've seen a few recipes calling for freezing tofu but haven't tried it. I think I'll definitely try this. Also, there's a technique in Appetite for Reduction where she pan-fries cubed (not even pressed) tofu dry, with just a light coating of cooking spray, for 10 minutes, adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of soy sauce halfway through. I swear it had the same great texture as fried tofu and tasted delicious.


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