Grilled barbecued tofu is easy to make with a grill pan
I love my grill pan. While I'm not much for cooking on the barbecue grill outdoors, I do like to get those grill marks on my food. And a non-stick grill pan, with ridges on the surface, is perfect for making barbecued tofu in the dead of winter.
The barbecue sauce is a little bit of "everything but the kitchen sink." I had just enough bourbon left to spike the simmering sauce with some Kentucky sweetness. And maple syrup for that essential Canadian nice-ness, as well as a nice blackened crust to the tofu.
Don't worry if your barbecued tofu is "blackened"—it's even better that way!
I was also lucky enough to have extra-firm tofu. If you're shopping in Britain you'll be hard pressed (pun intended) to find firm tofu, since the only brand most stores carry is Cauldron, which for some reason doesn't offer a range of firmness in its tofu range. Go to an Asian store, and ask for the firmest tofu they sell, if you can. Otherwise learn to press tofu to create a firmer texture.
I suppose if you wanted, you could make barbecued tofu with regular barbecue sauce from a bottle, but it wouldn't have the extra kick from the chipotles. There's nothing like smoked jalapenos for kicking barbecue-sauce ass. But go ahead, make your life easier, just don't say I didn't warn you.
Be sure you're using Chinese-style tofu from the refrigerated section of your supermarket, not the kind sold in shelf-stable packages (like Mori-Nu, which has its uses).
For a printable version, go here:
2 lbs extra-firm tofu
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup maple syrup
Drain the tofu and pat dry with paper towels. Slice into slabs (if the tofu is thick, you can get three slabs from a block). Cut into smaller pieces if desired. Marinate in the soy sauce and maple syrup for an hour, turning to distribute the marinade equally after a half hour. (Note: If your marinating dish is large, you may want to make more marinade to adequately marinate the tofu slabs.)
Make the barbecue sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup bourbon whisky
2 tablespoons tomato paste (tomato puree in the UK)
¾ cup tomato sauce (passata in the UK)
2 teaspoons vegan worcestershire sauce OR soy sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon liquid smoke
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup ketchup (or more as needed)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
Saute the shallots and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the whiskey and the tomato paste, stirring to make a paste. Stir in the tomato sauce and the worcestershire sauce.
Lower the heat and add about ½ cup water. Stir in the vinegar, liquid smoke, sugar, ketchup, and chipotle peppers. Simmer the sauce over low heat for about 20 minutes. Add more ketchup to thicken the sauce, or water to thin it—you want it just thick enough to cling to the tofu.
Turn the heat off under the sauce and let it cool enough to dredge the tofu slabs with your hands.
Heat a grill pan over high heat.
Lower heat to medium-high and spray with cooking spray. Place the dredged pieces of tofu on the pan. Cook until the bottom has seared, about 4-5 minutes. Lift with a spatula and flip; sear the opposite side. Remove from pan and keep warm while searing the other pieces. Serve immediately, with extra barbecue sauce.