Asian Salad with Crispy Tofu

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I can honestly tell you I don’t know how I got through the last three weeks. Between final projects, final exams, graduations, end of year celebrations, trips, camp preparations, I have barely kept my calendar straight.  Who is going where and when? Where do I have to be, and why?  So you will believe me when I ask “what the heck have my kids been eating?”  I can’t remember any dinner at all.  I guess we survived, because no one has starved.  Now that the house is settling down, I am thinking about how to proceed.  Today I decided I am simply going to make dinner from things I already have.  I do that every once in a while.  I found two packages of tofu, that I am sure I bought weeks, if not months ago.  I was surprised to see it doesn’t expire until the end of July.  (I was more surprised that I had bought it at all!) I think I have used tofu once in my life, so I was a bit hesitant.  Well, if I didn’t use it now, it would probably end up in the garbage, so I decided to have a go at it.  Tofu doesn’t really taste like anything, so I decided to go with an Asian marinade.  Since there was also some greens, a salad would be made as well.  The results were really tasty, so I am quite pleased and hope you will enjoy!

Asian Salad with Crispy Tofu

2 14 oz. containers extra firm tofu

Marinade for tofu:

3 Tbsp. mirin

3 Tbsp. rice vinegar

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp. sugar

Combine all marinade ingredients in a plastic container and shake well.  Set aside.

Drain the tofu and slice in half, lengthwise.  Slice each half into 1/3 inch slices.  I got 6-7 slices per half, so about 24 squares in total from all the tofu.  Place the squares on a plate line with a few sheets of paper towel, and pat the top with paper towel to absorb as much liquid as possible.

Tofu 1

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Use enough oil to generously cover the bottom.  Place half the squares of tofu, and brown about 3 minutes on each side.

Tofu 3

Remove tofu when browned on both sides, and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.  Place the second batch of the tofu squares in the pan to brown.  Remove the finished first batch of tofu from the paper towels, and place on a shallow dish.  spoon half the reserved marinade on the tofu.  When the second batch of tofu is done, do the same thing.  Leave the first batch in the marinade too.  Prepare the salad while the tofu sits in the marinade.

Tofu 6

Salad:

5 oz. arugula/spinach mix

1/2 large English cucumber, sliced into half moons

1 15 oz. can mandarin oranges, reserve liquid for dressing

1 C. thin chow mein noodles

2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Place the greens in a large bowl.

Tofu 4

Add the rest of the ingredients and gently combine.

tofu 8

Make dressing:

2 Tbsp. light olive oil

4 Tbsp. reserved juice

2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients in a small plastic container and shake well to emulsify. Pour dressing over salad and gently mix ingredients to distribute dressing.  Plate the salad individually, and place 2-3 pieces tofu on top, or add tofu directly to the salad and serve.

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