I just discovered super-firm tofu and it's a total game changer! No pressing required which saved me at least 15 minutes. This versatile Mandarin Sauce can be used as a marinade for tofu, tempeh and chickpeas or as a sauce for Buddha bowls, stir-fries and salads.
4 servings + extra sauce for drizzling
1 (16 ounce) block of super-firm tofu*, cut into 3/4" cubes (or extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed)
¼ cup low-sodium tamari*
¼ cup water
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha, or more to taste
2-4 Medjool dates, pitted (or 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup)
2 fresh mandarins, peeled
2” piece of mandarin peel
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2" piece fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
FOR SERVING, optional
Rice or quinoa
Garnish with green onions & toasted sesame seeds
Make the sauce: Add all the sauce ingredients to a high speed blender. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust. Add sea salt for more saltiness - dates or maple syrup for more sweetness - sriracha for more heat.
Marinate the tofu: Add the tofu to a shallow airtight container. Add enough sauce to coat the tofu. Cover container and gently toss tofu to ensure all pieces have been evenly coated. Allow to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
Cook the tofu: Remove the tofu from the marinade and add to either the air fryer or the baking sheet, reserving the extra sauce.
Air fryer method - Cook on 375 F for about 15 minutes or until crispy and golden. Shake the basket every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking.
Oven method - Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add tofu in a single layer. Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway through cook time.
Warm the sauce: Heat the remaining Mandarin Sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low for 5-10 minutes.
Serve: Add the cooked tofu to the warmed sauce. Garnish and serve with your favorite grain and vegetable. Alternatively, enjoy cold over a bed of greens, thinly sliced red cabbage, carrots, daikon radish, toasted almonds and green onions.
PRO TIP: The air fryer method takes half the amount of time and was evenly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. This is my favorite way to enjoy tofu! The oven method created inconsistent crispy edges and was still chewy on the inside - which was still yummy.
Tamari is available in many different options including regular, low-sodium and lite which all contain different amounts of sodium. If you only have full sodium on hand, use less and increase the water so you end up with 1/2 cup total of the tamari mixture.