Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mandarin-Sesame Pan-Seared Tofu

I am not a huge fan of canned fruits but I'll also use just about any (vegan) food I have available to me rather than waste it. That said, last week a friend gave as a whole case of those little cans of mandarin oranges; and while I was appreciative, I was also a bit stumped.

Canned oranges. I thought those went away in the '70's or were reserved for neon-colored Jell-O salads. Well, aside from being packed in a pretty sweet syrup, they weren't bad and worked great in smoothies and on breakfast pancakes, but today I decided to try them in a more savory application and they added just the right contrast of color, sweetness and mild citrus. Obviously you could do this with fresh oranges or mandarins too.

Mandarin-Sesame Pan-Seared Tofu

Prepare Tofu:
1 Lb firm water-packed tofu; 1.) frozen, 2.) thawed and 3.) pressed under heavy weight to remove almost all liquid. You should have a very porous tofu product that will soak up lots of marinade.

Prepare Marinade:
3/4 cup mandarin orange segments (fresh or canned) whizzed into a liquid in food processor
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple or orange juice or white wine
3 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. agave syrup, brown rice syrup or corn syrup
2 teaspoon finely shredded fresh ginger

Blend all marinade ingredients in food processor.

Slice tofu into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Lay in flat baking dish or plastic storage container.
The tofu should have been pressed very well so no liquid remained and there is lots of room to soak up marinade.
Pour marinade over tofu. It should cover all the tofu. Let marinate an hour or so, turn slabs over, let sit another hour or overnight...

Remove from marinade, pat dry and fry in well-oiled very hot iron (or non-stick) skillet. Tofu should sear and turn dark and crispy on the edges. When browned on both sides, set in warm oven until all pieces are done.

Boil marinade until it reduces and thickens.

Lay tofu on serving plate.

Scatter several spoonfuls of mandarin orange segments over tofu. Drizzle with reduced marinade if desired.

Serve with veggies and fried rice or whatever suits you...


Bianca said...

Yummy! I actually love canned mandarin oranges in salads. And I make a mean mandarin orange cobbler.

Catherine said...

I've always been a little off-put by those slimy little buggers . . . but they sound great pureed into a marinade! You're so creative.

soulsearcher said...

i always like oranges in food..they add that sweet twist in the food