by Ernest Barteldes
Whenever I mention the word “tofu” to my meat-loving friends, I always get either a dirty or puzzled look. After all, the soybean curd so popular among Asian cultures does not exactly get a very good rap here (at least around people I know).
I recall making orange marinated tofu skewers once at a recent event, and I cannot forget the mixed reaction I got – the meat lovers looked at me like I was out of my mind, while the more veggie-friendly crows really enjoyed the treat and even went for seconds.
The fact is that tofu is not only highly nutritious, but is also extremely versatile. Silken substitutes eggs when baking and is a fantastic complement for soup (an example of this is the Korean sundubu, which also includes seafood). Hard tofu absorbs flavors like a sponge, and the results can be very positive when using the right marinade.
A favorite at home is a simple recipe made with sliced hard tofu marinated in soy sauce and orange juice, sautéed with garlic and scallions and served over white rice (the marinade is also used as a sauce, heated at the end of the sauté process). It is as simple as it sounds, and it makes for an affordable and satisfying meal – even if the “steak team” might not so respectfully agree.
Orange marinated tofu skewers
From “Meat Free Mondays” (recipe by Pamela Anderson)
For the skewers
24 oz. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large onions cut into 1-inch pieces
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. whole cherry tomatoes
Orange pieces for garnish
For the marinade
1 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 ½ tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest of 1 orange
1½ cups olive oil
10 bamboo skewers
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade, except the oil, in a food processor and blend for fifteen seconds. While the machine is running, slowly add the oil until well blended.
Thread the tofu, onions, peppers and tomatoes onto the skewers. Place in a shallow dish and pour the marinade onto the tofu and vegetables. Leave to marinate for four hours. Remove the skewers from the marinade and either grill over a medium flame for about five minutes on each side or place under broiler until the veggies are lightly cooked and have grill marks. Serve with orange pieces.