Daily Recipe: Crisp Tofu Sandwich with Peanut Sauce
Sometimes you need a sandwich.
Unfortunately it can be hard to come up with meat-free sandwich options at home. Because we all know the great meat sandwich combinations out there, we wanted to offer up something a little different. We have lovely Thai chilis and lemongrass that were grown in a neighbor’s backyard and that inspired us to seek out a vegetarian Thai sandwich.
We love tofu for many reasons, but something we really love is the fact that tofu sucks up the flavor of anything that it’s marinated in. By mixing up a marinade with extremely flavorful ingredients like thai chilis and lemongrass, your finished product promises to be mouth-watering.
Most of us are pretty familiar with tofu, but when asked where it came from, how it was invented and how it’s made, we were left scratching our heads. Because we’re all about dropping fun food facts for our readers, here is a brief history of tofu. Tofu is made by adding curdling agents to soy milk. It’s believed that tofu originated in China, but how it was invented is unclear. Some say that it came about accidentally when someone knocked some sea salt into their soy milk and noticed a curious clumping process. Another theory is that a famous nobleman discovered it through alchemical experiments.
It’s hard to decipher what the true origin of tofu is, but what we do know is that the earliest references to tofu were made in 950 AD. Initially, back in the day tofu was eaten by the poor as a cheap substitute for meat. Buddhist monks also ate tofu because they ate strict vegetarian diets. By the time of the Ch’ing dynasty (1644-1912) tofu had moved up and was considered a staple ingredient in Chinese cuisine.
It made its way to the USA by the late 1800s and early 1900s. Chinese immigrants in big American cities like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco had begun producing their own tofu. At this time most of the producers and consumers were still almost all of Asian descent. It wasn’t until the 1970s, with the renewed interest in health foods, that this favorite soy product caught on in the mainstream USA food scene.
Now that you’re armed with some sweet tofu history we’ll get to the recipe. Happy eating!
Crisp Tofu Sandwich with Peanut Sauce
Adapted From: Martha Stewart
- 1/2 Tbsp dried thai chilis, chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- Sesame seeds
- 1 package of firm tofu
- 1 medium onion, but into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 6 oz of marinated tofu
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro
- 1 baguette
First start with the tofu. To drain out excess liquid, place the tofu on a towel on a plate. Place another plate on top and compress the tofu by placing a heavy object on top (I use a stack of cookbooks). Leave it to compress for about 10 minutes. It will lose quite a bit of liquid and make it easier to work with.
Mix your marinade. Combine the soy sauce, oil, sugar and ginger. Whisk together. Then add in the thai chilies, lemon grass and sesame seeds. Cut your tofu into 1/2-inch slices and put in a dish. Pour marinade over and let sit for 30 minutes to and hour.
After the tofu has marinated, heat the broiler with the rack 4 inches from the heat source. Place the onion slices on a broiler pan. Broil, turning onion over halfway through the cooking time, until the onion is browned. About 12-15 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute tofu until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes each side. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, 1/4 tsp sesame oil, and ginger. Toss reserved vegetables with remaining 1/4 tsp sesame oil. Spread the peanut butter mixture on the bottom side of the bread. Top with tofu and onions, add on chopped cilantro. Eat and enjoy.