Grilled or Broiled Tofu

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

TIME: 30 minutes

Not quite as simple as other basic preparations, because it’s almost essential to freeze or press the tofu (see Preparing Tofu) before grilling or broiling. But once that’s done, the process is easy enough, especially if you use the broiler. (Of course if you already have a grill going, so much the better.)

Like baking, frying, and poaching, this method can be used to prepare tofu for other dishes, including stir-fries, but it is also great on its own, especially when prepared with miso as in the variation. In fact, for most people, this method produces an appealing tofu steak one you’re likely to eat as a center-of-the-plate meat substitute.

11/2 to 2 pounds tofu, frozen or squeezed , cut in half horizontally

Salt

Soy sauce

Mirin or corn syrup (optional)

Heat a charcoal or gas grill or a broiler to moderately high heat and put the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. Pat the tofu dry if necessary and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Cut the tofu into large cubes and skewer if you like or simply put the whole pieces on the grill or under the broiler. Carefully cook until lightly browned, then brush with soy sauce or soy sauce mixed with mirin or corn syrup. Continue to grill or broil until nicely browned; total cooking time will be less than 10 minutes.

Serve immediately (whole or sliced), with a little more soy sauce drizzled on top or with any of the sauces listed in 10 Ideas for Precooked Tofu or cool, wrap, and refrigerate for another use.

Variations

Miso Grilled or Broiled Tofu. Use any miso you like here, but any dark (red or brown) miso is best, I think: Warm together 1/2 cup red miso with 2 tablespoons sake or white wine and 2 tablespoons mirin or corn syrup; taste and add a little sugar if you like. In Step 2, brush the tofu liberally with this mixture and continue to cook, turning and basting, until the tofu is dark brown. Serve immediately.

Barbecue-, Teriyaki-, or Ponzu-Grilled or Broiled Tofu. In Step 2, brush the tofu liberally with any barbecue sauce (to make your own, see Fast, Down-Home Barbecue Sauce), Teriyaki Sauce, or Ponzu Sauce and continue to cook, turning and basting, until nicely browned. Serve immediately.

Rubs and Sauces for Grilled Tofu

Grilled tofu is great with almost any rub or sauce you’d use on other grilled foods; its flavor is neutral enough to both complement and absorb almost anything you put on it.

In general, rubs are typically dry spice blends or pastes that are spread on the tofu before cooking. Whatever you choose, let it marinate for about 10 (and up to 30) minutes if you have the time. The sauces are best put on the tofu after it’s grilled or in the last couple of minutes of cooking so they don’t burn.

Rubs

  1. Chili powder (to make your own, see Chili Powder)
  2. Jerk seasoning (to make your own, see Jerk Seasoning)
  3. Zaвatar (to make your own, see Zaвatar)
  4. Japanese Seven-Spice Mix
  5. Any curry powder (to make your own, see Hot Curry Powder)
  6. Garam masala (to make your own, see Garam masala)
  7. Chaat masala (to make your own, see Chaat masala)
  8. Sambar Powder
  9. Five-spice powder (to make your own, Five-Spice Powder)
  10. Any miso paste
  11. Red curry paste (to make your own, see Red Curry Paste)

Sauces

  1. Barbecue sauce (to make your own, see Fast, Down-Home Barbecue Sauce)
  2. Teriyaki Sauce
  3. Any raw salsa and cooked salsa
  4. Raw Onion Chutney
  5. Tomato Chutney
  6. Caramelized Onion Chutney
  7. Fishless Fish Sauce
  8. Ponzu Sauce
  9. Soy and Sesame Dipping Sauce and Marinade, Korean Style
  10. Simple Miso Dipping Sauce
  11. Nutty Miso Sauce
  12. Sweet Miso Glaze
  13. Fast Tomato Sauce
  14. Peanut Sauce, Six Ways
  15. Tahini Sauce
  16. Creamy Bistro Dressing or Sauce
  17. Chile-Garlic Paste