Tofu in Adobo
As much as I can use black beans as a meat sub in just about anything, sometimes I really just want to appreciate them for, well, black beans!! Doing so however leaves a flavor gap which needs to be filled.
Enter tofu. On it’s own, this unassuming block of funny colored fermented soy product tastes like just that. Fermented bland soy product. However, add a little spice, and little liquid, apply some low heat over an extended period of time, and suddenly you have the perfect vehicle to carry whatever flavor your heart desires. The best part is, the longer the tofu and whatever your flavors hang out, the better it gets.
Since tacos and burritos happen to be some of my favorite foods in the world (I think I owe Chipotle just about every dollar I’ve ever made), I decided to come up with a tasty Mexican version of shredded tofu. I had a loose vision of shredded pork or beef taco meat in mind when I came up with this recipe, with a little extra kick from the adobo.
Keep in mind that chilies in adobo can be extremely spicy, it really depends on the type and the brand. I’ve found the best way to ensure that you do not turn yourself into a fire-breathing dragon is to taste just a little bit of the sauce before you decide how many chilies to use and then adjust accordingly. If you only use a very small amount, and it’s not enough to fully coat the tofu, add a bit of veggie stock to the chilies to thin them out, stir together with the spices and then add to the pot. The stock will condense and thicken a bit and deepen the flavor, while also helping with the viscosity of the dish.
- 1 Block Extra Firm Tofu
- 1/4 - 1/3 Cup Chilies in Adobe Sauce
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 tsp Unrefined Sugar
Place drained tofu on a stack of paper towels, place more paper towels on top, and put something heavy on top of the towels (a big can of tomato sauce, or a cast iron pan both work well).
After about an hour take the tofu and place it on a cutting board. Flip it on to one of it's short sides so that it is standing up the tall way. With a sharp knife, carefully cut the tofu in half alone the short side, and then cut each of the halves in half so you have 4 large slices, each about 1/4" thick.
Lay the tofu block back down and cut through all four slices the long way, cutting it into narrow strips, it doesn't really matter how many strips you cut it into, just don't make them too thin, or they'll fall apart when you cook them. Once the tofu is cut into the strips, cut it into thirds the short way. When you are done with your cuts you should have a block of tofu cut into approximately 1/4"x1/4"x2" strips.
Finely chop up the adobo chilies and put them, along with some of the sauce (depending on your heat tolerance) and all of the spices into a medium saucepan. Bring to a brief simmer over medium high heat, and then turn down to low. Add the tofu strips and toss to coat. Put a lid over the pan and cook on low for 15 - 20mn, giving the tofu time to marinade and pick up flavor.
This dish makes a great substitute for taco meat, and is also great in enchiladas, carnitas, and as a side with rice. It is also even more flavorful after the second day!