This is absolutely nothing to do with the recipe, but I thought it would be nice to start the week off with a smile.
An obstacle challenge between cats and dogs. Click here for those smiles.
And now on to the recipe.
We enjoy many Asian dishes and everyone I have found lately has been excellent. This one came from Epicurious. We used chicken, as you can see from our photo. We will make it again next week and use the tofu. You can see the original recipe here.
Spicy Braised Tofu by Christina Chaey Bon
1 (14-oz.) block firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
3 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¾ teaspoon gochugaru (coarse Korean red pepper powder) or other mild red pepper flakes
2 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil, divided, plus more for drizzling (we used olive oil)
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled ginger
Toasted sesame seeds and cooked rice (for serving)
Wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Weigh down with a heavy object (I have used a couple of small, clean cutting boards). Let sit for 10 minutes. Unwrap tofu and slice in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 6 sections to create 12 squares.
Whisk soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, Gochugaru, and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl to combine; set sauce aside.
Trim dark green top from scallion and thinly slice; set aside. Thinly slice remaining white and pale green parts of scallion. Heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high. Carefully add tofu in a single layer and lightly season with salt. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; turn over and cook until golden brown on other side, about 5 minutes. Transfer tofu to a plate. Keep the same skillet (no need to wipe out).
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in that skillet over medium heat. Cook white and pale green parts of the scallion, garlic, and ginger, stirring until softened but not browned. This takes about 1 minute.
Return tofu to skillet. Pour in reserved sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, turning tofu once or twice and occasionally spooning sauce over, until sauce is reduced by about half, about 4 minutes.
Transfer tofu to a large plate, spoon sauce over, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and reserved scallion top. Serve with rice alongside.
Gregg used four skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead of the tofu, which he cubed and cooked as if it was the tofu, just longer until they were no longer pink in the middle. This took about 15 minutes, flipping the cubes over half-way, but you really need to check your own as this depends on your heating elements.
We used a rounded tablespoon of chili paste instead of the Gochugaru. Ours is Gochujang and I found a description of the difference between the two.
"The name Gochugaru refers to the flakes of a moderately hot sun-dried red chili pepper that has been present in Korea since the 16th century. Gochujang is a thick, sticky paste used in dipping sauces and marinades. So, the first big difference is consistency since Gochugaru is flaky and dry while Gochujang is a paste.
Ours is Gochujang and the amount we use gives a nice kick of heat without being overpowering, for our tastes anyhow. You be the judge for your own taste. I also have a jar of red pepper flakes in the pantry. I would use it if we didn't have the Gochujang. We bought ours at the local Asian supermarket. (I made this recipe at the beginning of the year before we knew what we had in store for all of us.)