I have been pretty intimidated by the thought of private tutoring. Recently, however, I started meeting with a Korean grandmother who is so friendly. How friendly?
SHE GAVE ME A REAL LIVE TOFU DEMO!
AND TOFU AND SAUCE TO GO!
We had just ended our lesson for the day, when she motioned for me to follow her into her kitchen. The last time I was in her kitchen, she showed me cabbage (I think) kimchi and a
very VERRRRRY potent shrimp sauce. Today, she removed a small, plastic container of minced garlic and chopped scallions from her fridge. I wasn’t too sure what was happening at this point, but then she started cutting up tofu and heating up a frying pan. To the container of garlic and scallions, she added soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and chili powder, eyeballing all of the measurements.
The four tofu slices were quickly browned on each side, after which she artistically arranged them on a small plate and topped each one with the sauce mixture.
I wasn’t sure if the whole experience was just me watching her prepare her lunch, or if I was supposed to sit down and finish off the whole plate myself. When she offered the plate and a fork to me, I was more than happy to try a piece of the quickly prepared entree! In the past, I haven’t liked soft tofu, but it was a nice consistency and the simple sauce made it quite flavorful.
She even sent me home with a small jar of the sauce and a block of tofu!
I was so excited about the whole experience (I’ve never had a tofu “cooking lesson” before!), I replicated the recipe as soon as I got home. It is a simple recipe – the best kind, in my opinion!
Here is the quick and easy recipe, replicated to the best of my ability, based on the method of and ingredients used by my Korean student:
Ingredients: organic soft tofu, 2+ T Canola oil, 1/2 C soy sauce, 1 T sesame oil, 1/4 C chopped scallions, 1 T minced garlic, 1 T sesame seeds, chili powder to taste
Directions: In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, minced garlic, sesame seeds, and chili powder. Mix and set aside. Cut tofu into rectangles or squares; remove water by pressing tofu pieces between paper towels. In a frying pan, heat canola oil on high/med-high heat. Add tofu. Brown front and back sides of tofu. Serve tofu topped with sauce mixture. Enjoy!
Just when I thought nothing could be better than hearing this sweet Korean grandmother reading The House on Mango Street, I hit the vegetarian jackpot with a free tofu cooking demo. It’s a good, good day!