I have a colleague who loves tofu. I hardly see him since I work from home most of the times. One day, he comes and asks me "You are a vegetarian, right? So you must be using tofu?". I told him I was a vegetarian but vegetarianism has nothing to do with eating tofu. I also told him, I do cook, eat tofu. Then he started asking questions about how I cook tofu. I have explained to him a number of times how to get flavor into tofu, but he says he can never get it right and buys the tofu dishes from Chinese or Thai restaurants. This dish was wonderful. Every bite of tofu had so much flavor in it that I could eat it as is without even mixing it with rice.
One year back - Spanish Rice / Mexican Rice
Firm or extra firm tofu - 14 Oz block
Oil - 1 TBSP
Hot sauce - 1 tsp or to taste (if required)
Rice vinegar - to taste (if required)
Red Onion - 2 medium or 1 large
Salt - to taste
Scallions - 1 - 2 chopped (white and green parts separated)
Brown Sugar - 2 TBSP or to taste (Omit this for a not sweet version)
For the marinade:
Sesame Oil - 3 TBSP (You could use canola but don't use olive oil)
Rice vinegar - 3 TBSP
Soy sauce - 2 TBSP
Salt - to taste
Hot sauce - 1 tsp or to taste (You could use crushed pepper instead)
Brown Sugar - 2 tsp
Garlic - 2 cloves minced
Ginger - Grated 1 - 2 tsp
Drain tofu and place between many layers of paper towel. Place weight on the top and let drain completely. Change the paper towel in between if it is soaking wet. It will take at least an hour for it to drain. Chop them into 1 " cubes. Take in a bowl. Mix all ingredients for the marinade. Pour on to the tofu cubes and mix. Let it sit for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
In a wok or a saute pan, heat 1 TBSP of oil. When hot, add drained tofu cubes reserving the marinade. Let tofu cubes brown a bit. You won't see a golden brown color. You will see more of a dark shade due to soy sauce. Stir occasionally and when all the cubes have browned, remove them and set aside. To the same wok or saute pan, add red onions and white parts of the scallions. Sprinkle a bit of salt (go easy on salt since there is salt in the marinade which you will be adding). Add the brown sugar (2 TBSP) and stir. Let it wilt. When onions have become soft, add the reserved marinade (from draining tofu), about 3/4 cup - 1 cup of water. Mix well. Add the tofu cubes. Let it come to a boil. Check for the taste and add hot sauce, vinegar and salt if needed. Finally add scallions and turn off the heat. Serve with steamed rice or fried rice. I think this will make a wonderful side dish for noodles too.
You can add more veggies to this like babycorn, sugar snap peas or beans. You could get this thicker by adding 2 TBSP of corn starch to the 1 cup water you add to the pot. I didn't do that since I was in a hurry and there was someone holding the plate with rice already on it. Any guesses who it was?