Crispy Tofu with Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

I’ve had tofu so bad I wouldn’t serve it to my worst enemy and I’ve had tofu so good I wanted it all to myself and wouldn’t even share with my best friend. This recipe is the “so good you won’t want to share” kind.

The secret ingredient that makes this tofu crispy like deep fried without deep frying it is the arrowroot powder/starch/flour (all the same, just different names). It ever so slightly coats each piece of tofu and enables the pieces to crisp up and taste like you’re eating something much less good for you. The spicy sweet garlicy sauce takes things over the top.

Arrowroot isn’t difficult to find—small bottles can be found with the spices at regular grocery store and larger bags can be found in the natural foods section of well-stocked grocery stores, at natural foods stores, and online. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand. You could use corn starch if you can’t get arrowroot, but corn starch is much more processed and most likely contains genetically modified corn (boo, hiss!).

The recipe is from a cookbook I purchased after seeing the author on one of the local Saturday morning news shows. Vegan chef Tess Challis was in town to present at the Twin Cities Veg Fest, which I wanted to attend, but just couldn’t fit it into my jam-packed weekend.

One of her cookbooks is called Food Love and I looked it up online to potentially order and ended up ordering the e-version, which was only $10; I got it immediately and no trees were harmed in the process. There are a number of recipes I’d like to try and this was the first. Based on how good this was, I’m excited to make more. Enjoy!

Crispy Tofu with Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

Slightly adapted from a Food Love by Tess Challis recipe
1 pound extra firm tofu, organic and non-gmo, sprouted if you can find it

2 tablespoons tamari (darker, richer and less salty than soy sauce, and wheat-free)

1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder/starch/flour (less processed and non-gmo compared to cornstarch)

1-2 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil (I used grapeseed for a more neutral flavor)

¼ cup sriracha sauce

¼ cup raw agave (honey [not vegan] or maple syrup would work as well)

2 tablespoons water

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Sliced green onions, for garnish

Cut block of tofu into quarters, and each quarter into two slices. Lay slices flat on two layers of paper towel. Cover with two more layers of paper towel and lay a cutting board on top. Set something heavy, like a cast iron pan or a big can of tomatoes on top and let sit 30 minutes; this will remove moisture from the tofu.

While tofu is pressing, mix sriracha, agave, water and minced garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cut each tofu slice into quarters and place into a large zip lock bag. Mix tamari and granulated garlic in a small dish. Put arrowroot in another small dish. Pour tamari mixture over tofu, seal bag, and toss to coat. Sprinkle arrowroot starch/flour, in several batches, over tofu, and shake bag after each batch.

Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon grapeseed or coconut oil. When oil is hot, lay about half the tofu pieces in the pan, cook for 3 minutes, turn, and cook 3 minutes more. Remove tofu to a paper towel lined plate.

Add another tablespoon oil, if necessary, to pan and when hot, add remaining tofu and cook the same as the first batch.

Serve with garlic sriracha sauce and green onions as garnish. Makes about 4 servings.


Creamy Sriracha Potato Salad

Scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches have been the extent of my culinary adventures lately as I recuperate from total hip replacement surgery. Until my appetite and agility return and I dive back into cooking escapades worth sharing, here’s a potato salad recipe I came up with last month. A little creamy, a little tangy, and subtly spicy. I hope you like it. Enjoy!

Creamy Sriracha Potato Salad

½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes

1 cup sliced radishes

¾ cup sliced scallions

¼ cup sour cream or plain Green yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon dill pickle juice

1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce (depending on how much heat you’d like)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ cup chopped parsley or dill

Cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Place in a pan and cover with water and throw in some salt. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook potatoes until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, and dump into a large serving bowl. Add radishes and scallions and toss.

While potatoes are cooking, combine sour cream, mayo, lemon juice & zest, pickle juice, sriracha, olive oil, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

Pour dressing over potato mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle in parsley or dill and toss again. Cover and chill for a couple hours before serving. Makes 4-6 servings.


Cruciferous Crunch Slaw

Named after a bag of shredded veggies I picked up at Trader Joe’s the other day, this recipe will have you happily munching on these oh-so-good-for you super foods and going back for more. The pre-bagged shredded stuff makes it quicker, but if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s handy or you prefer the therapeutic undertaking of shredding or thinly slicing your own veggies (it’s definitely relaxation therapy for me!), go for it. Some dried cranberries are added for a sweet-tart component and some toasted almonds for crunch. Topped with a lime-tinged vinaigrette spiced up with a little sriracha, you’ve got yourself one amazing salad!

For a filling and gluten-free meal, pair the salad with these Porcini-Crusted Red & Black Bean Cakes, substituting a simple guacamole like this one for the sauces. With avocados on sale this week at the grocery store for shockingly low price of 3 for 99 cents, I stocked up and have been making small batches of guac all week—it’s great on anything!

Cruciferous Crunch Slaw

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch or two of cumin
A squirt of sriracha
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

One bag Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch veggie mix, or
Kale, thinly sliced
Brussels sprouts, shredded
Broccoli stems, cut into thin matchsticks
Green cabbage, shredded
Red cabbage, shredded

A big handful or two of dried cranberries or golden raisins
A handful of unsalted silvered almonds, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, salt, cumin, and sriracha until combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until fully emulsified. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine veggies and dried cranberries. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss (or just massage the dressing into the veggies with your hands—really the best way to do it!). Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the dressing to slightly soften the veggies. Add the almonds, freshly ground black pepper, and the rest of the dressing and toss again. Makes about 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are. Enjoy!
Bowl of slaw