East Meets West: Adapting the Chicken – Grilled BBQ Tofu, Grilled Asian Tofu, and Veg Brochettes

Good morning everyone,

B-B-Q season is in full swing in our little northern town.  Summers don’t last long around here, so you can imagine that our B-B-Q season is short but intense.  What to put on the grill when you have a vaishno diet?  Not chicken.  That’s for sure and that’s where we are today – in the “Hot Off the Grill” section of the New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

The original recipes are on page 459 and 460 and are A Whole Chicken on the Grill, Chicken in Quarters and Chicken Brochettes.  We’re going to alter these recipes to remove the meat and our versions are Grilled BBQ Tofu, Grilled Asian Tofu and Veg Brochettes.  Oh yummy, yummy.  I promised you before that if you’re new to tofu or haven’t like it’s texture in the past, it may be because of the way the tofu was treated by the cook.  These tofu recipes are rich and the tofu tastes really quite wonderful.

Grilled BBQ Tofu

Ingredients
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 kg firm tofu, unflavoured, cut along the widest edge, into 1/2″ thick slices
Olive oil to prepare the grill

Method
Prepare your grill on high heat.  The grill must be very, very clean.  Stir all of the ingredients, except for the tofu together in a bowl.  Set aside.  Here is how to grill tofu so that it’s flavourful and crisp:  Lay the sliced tofu out on absorbent paper in a single layer and cover with more absorbent paper.  Press down to dry the tofu.  Lightly coat the tofu in the BBQ sauce on both sides.  (I arranged my tofu on a non-sticking baking sheet).  Allow the tofu to marinate in the sauce for at least 20 minutes.  If you want to marinate it overnight, do so in the fridge but do NOT soak the tofu in the marinade – just lightly coat it.  Reserve the remaining marinade.  Oil the grill with the olive oil.  Let the oil smoke for 20 seconds and do it again, repeating this process 4 or 5 times.  When ready to grill, turn the grill down to low.  Place the tofu on the grill and close the lid.  After 5 minutes, turn the tofu 90 degrees.  After another 5, turn each piece over.  Finally after another 5 minutes have passed, turn the tofu again 90 degrees.  At the 20 minute mark, remove the tofu from the grill.  Coat the tofu again with the marinade.  This time you can apply the sauce as thick or thin as your tastes desire.  Serve it up warm.  This recipe will make 4 – 6 entrée servings.

Grilled Asian Tofu

Ingredients

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup minced fresh ginger

2 tbls sesame oil

2 tbls rice vinegar

1 tsp dried red pepper flakes

1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 kg firm tofu, unflavoured, cut along the widest edge, into 1/2″ thick slices

Olive oil to prepare the grill

Method

Prepare your grill on high heat.  The grill must be very, very clean.  Stir all of the ingredients, except for the tofu together in a bowl.  Set aside.  Here is how to grill tofu so that it’s flavourful and crisp:  Lay the sliced tofu out on absorbent paper in a single layer and cover with more absorbent paper.  Press down to dry the tofu.  Lightly coat the tofu in the BBQ sauce on both sides.  (I arranged my tofu on a non-sticking baking sheet).  Allow the tofu to marinate in the sauce for at least 20 minutes.  If you want to marinate it overnight, do so in the fridge but do NOT soak the tofu in the marinade – just lightly coat it.  Reserve the remaining marinade.  Oil the grill with the olive oil.  Let the oil smoke for 20 seconds and do it again, repeating this process 4 or 5 times.  When ready to grill, turn the grill down to low.  Place the tofu on the grill and close the lid.  After 5 minutes, turn the tofu 90 degrees.  After another 5, turn each piece over.  Finally after another 5 minutes have passed, turn the tofu again 90 degrees.  At the 20 minute mark, remove the tofu from the grill.  Coat the tofu again with the marinade.  This time you can apply the sauce as thick or thin as your tastes desire.  Serve it up warm.  This recipe will make 4 – 6 entrée servings.

Veg Brochettes

The original recipe called for patty pan squash.  These are tiny little squash that are not available where I live and honestly, I may have seen them once anywhere I’ve ever lived (and that’s a lot of place as those who know me can attest).  They also called for white pearl onions and “tiny” zucchini, and I laughed and laughed at laughed.  Yeah, not available.

Ingredients
1 kg  firm tofu, unflavoured, cut into 2″ cubes
16 – 18 crimini mushrooms, stems trimmed and cleaned
2 medium white onions, cut into 2″ dice
2 orange or red bell peppers, hull and seeds removed, cut into 2″ pieces
2 zucchini or long eggplant, cut into 2″ rounds
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
8 large cloves of garlic
1 tbls chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
8 cherry tomatoes
8 long sprigs rosemary

Method
Bring a saucepan of water to a gentle boil  Drop in the zucchini or eggplant, and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.  Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, chopped rosemary, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add the onions, mushrooms, bell pepper and zucchini (or eggplant).  Toss well, cover loosely, and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.

Prepare your grill on high heat.  The grill must be very, very clean.  Here is how to grill tofu so that it’s flavourful and crisp:  Lay the cubed tofu out on absorbent paper in a single layer and cover with more absorbent paper.  Press down to dry the tofu.  Lightly coat the tofu in the marinade (from the other vegetables) on all sides.  (I arranged my tofu on a non-sticking baking sheet).  Allow the tofu to marinate in the sauce for at least 20 minutes.  If you want to marinate it overnight, do so in the fridge but do NOT soak the tofu in the marinade – just lightly coat it.  Reserve the remaining marinade.  Prepare the brochettes by alternating pieces of tofu, vegetables, garlic on 8 long, metal skewers.  Wrap a sprig of fresh rosemary around each skewer.  Oil the grill with the olive oil.  Let the oil smoke for 20 seconds and do it again, repeating this process 4 or 5 times.  When ready to grill, turn the grill down to low.  Place the brochettes on the grill and close the lid.  After 5 minutes, brochettes over.  At the 10 minute mark, remove the brochettes from the grill.  Spritz some of the marinade over the cooked brochettes.  Serve them up warm, 2 skewers per person.  Makes 4 servings.

Who says we can’t do BBQ!

Until next time,
Peace & love,
Himmatpreet

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