Is tofu still trendy? I mean, it was trendy right? I think it was… it probably still is. Anyways, tofu is yummy. I ate it growing up, but with three brothers and a dad that liked meat, I don’t remember us eating it much as a main dish. The primary use was in miso soup and side dishes. Lucky for me, my husband will only grumble a little bit if we have tofu as our main. Actually, I take that back. He used to grumble, but now either he has learned to like it, or he’s resigned himself to the fact that we will have our non-meat nights. I think it’s really important to take (at least!) a day or two a week where you take a break from meat. I know for sure that my family eats too much of it!
My favorite way to eat tofu for dinner is making tofu “steaks”, because it makes my husband feel a little better about not having meat on the table. Look, it’s basically steak we’re eating! Just kidding. But it’s called steaks, probably because of the shape. You know, just, slabs of tofu. It’s super easy to make, with minimal prep work and time.
You need to drain the tofu, and then drain it again using papertowels and a little bit of weight. Tofu soaks up a lot of the water that it comes packaged in, and it’s best to get a good portion of it out before you throw it on your frying pan! It’s really easy. You just cut your tofu into your “steaks” and then you place them on paper towels on your cutting board, and then more paper towels on top and a cookie sheet or something flat on top of thaaaat and then weight it down a bit, with some cans or something. I sometimes put my tofu straight on the cutting board, then do the paper towels and cookie sheet on top, and tilt it at a slight angle into the sink, so the excess liquid just drains into the sink. I guess it depends on what your sink set-up is, as to whether you can do that or not.
Once your tofu is drained, you just heat some oil in a nonstick and throw them in! A lot of recipes I’ve used in the past have called for coating it in flour, but in this recipe, you aren’t tossing the tofu in the sauce, so I don’t think it’s really necessary! So, easy peasy. Just salt both sides and place it in your pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. If you’re up for it, you can even do the sides, but, you don’t really have to. I did this time around so give them browner edges, but that was purely for aesthetic purposes.
This topping. Oh man, this topping. It gave me a really hard time because, well, it’s delicious (obviously!)… but would you think so from looking at it? If I just looked at these pictures and saw the sauce I’d think… um… what is that. ew. I tossed around the idea in my mind to just ditch this recipe because the sauce just isn’t that PRETTY! I’m really sensitive to… little dots and holes and things. Have you heard of trypophobia? Look it up if you dare!!! I’m not even going to link you to it. I mean, I’m not like, fall to the ground screaming, but I get really uncomfortable and freaked out looking at those pictures. So maybe I’m just extra blah about the sauce and it’s little black sesame DOTS, and normal people will look at it and say, it’s fine, what’s your problem? What do you think? Does the sauce weird you out a bit, or am I the weird one?!
Anyways, the sauce is yummy, I promise. It’s made with miso, aka fermented soy bean paste, which is both delicious and totally good for you. You know how fermented foods are supposed to be the best for you? Yes, another on-trend health ingredient. And THEN you add toasted pecans to it, which gives it this great bite! And on top of that, you have sesame, which is also toasted and delicious. So many great Japanese flavors coming together in this sauce. As I was eating this (for the third time, because, well, recipe testing) it dawned on me that this would also be great on top of avocado! Mmm, creamy slices of avocado. Yup, it’d be great. Someone try it out and get back to me please!
Tofu steaks with miso pecan sauce
Slabs of tofu, topped with a delicious sauce using miso, pecans, and sesame seeds. Vegan, and gluten free!
- 1 block firm tofu
- 2 T chopped pecans
- 1 T black sesame
- 2 T ground white sesame
- 2 T sake
- 1 T mirin
- 1 T sugar
- 2 T water
- 2 T miso paste
- green onion garnish
- 1-2 T oil
Cut your (well drained) tofu into 6 pieces by first, cutting the height into three pieces, and then cutting the block in half (see pictures above). Lay some paper towels on a cutting board and arrange tofu slabs so they are not touching, cover with more paper towels, and place cookie sheet on top, weighted with some cans. Allow to drain for about ten minutes, changing out the paper towels if soaked through.
While tofu is draining, toast the chopped pecans and black sesame in a small pan over medium heat, watching closely so it doesn't burn. Once toasted, set aside on a plate and return pan to stove. Combine sake, mirin, sugar, and water and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring the sugar to melt it. Remove from heat, and stir in the miso and ground white sesame until fully combined. Stir in the pecans and black sesame. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add half of the tofu and fry until golden brown. Flip and cook other side until golden brown. Place on paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining tofu.
Top the tofu with miso pecan sauce, and add chopped green onion. Serve with a side of rice.