A sweet and sticky tofu recipe to enjoy with pearl barley for a change or with rice if you prefer.
I eat tofu occasionally; I would say on average 3-4 times a month. I am usually apprehensive to put up photos on my Instagram page featuring it because at least one person tells me it is terrible for my health. I have written a post in the past about soy, showing that it is fine as long as you stick with non-GMO and organic versions.
In saying that, soy may not be the best option for you if you take thyroid related medication (thyroxine) as it can prevent your body absorbing enough of the thyroid hormone. If you are otherwise healthy, soy contains beneficial compounds like genistein that inhibits cancer and reduces the risk of other chronic conditions like heart disease. It also has other benefits relating to weight loss, improving bone density and alleviating the symptoms of menopause.
The way tofu is cooked significantly determines if it will be a hit or a miss. If you’ve decided you hate tofu just because you’ve eaten the soggy, texture-less versions at restaurants, trust me you haven’t experienced tofu yet.
You need to buy a block of firm tofu, squeeze out the water from it, marinate it and either bake it or fry it to enjoy it thoroughly. I eat an oil-free diet, so I bake mine, and it turns out perfect every.single.time. I’ve written a detailed post on how I cook my tofu; you can check it out here.
Chinese flavours have been on my mind a lot recently, and it is that craving that inspired this dish. I have to admit that rice soaks up the flavours in the sauce a lot better than pearl barley, but as I’ve been eating rice on repeat (lol), I felt I should switch things up a bit. I should also add that your choice of some of these ingredients plays a major role in the final taste of the dish. I have experimented with other brands of sauces, and I know it doesn’t always apply, but trust me when I say premium really is premium in this case.
Serves 1 Prep time: 5 mins Cook time: 30 mins
How to cook
- Start by cooking the barley according to the pack instructions then set aside.
- Season the tofu lightly with a pinch of salt and then bake in the oven at 220ºC for 20 minutes, flipping it over halfway through cooking. Once cooked, set aside.
- Add water, ginger, chilli, hoisin sauce, sweet soy sauce, plum sauce and corn flour to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir thoroughly then bring mixture to the boil and cook on a simmer until thick and reduced. Once reduced, add the tofu to the pan and cook on a simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently but gently to avoid breaking the tofu.
- Serve the sauce over pearl barley and sprinkle with spring onions and black sesame seeds.