Do you ever have those moments when you’re staring into your fridge wondering how long, exactly, that bottle of whatever has been in there? And then you check the expiration date and you wonder just how accurate it is? Like, does it mean sell by 6 months ago? Or should I have eaten it 6 months ago? This is exactly what happened to me last weekend as I was trying to figure out what to make for Sunday dinner. I had a bunch of bok choy laying around and thought I’d make an Asian-inspired dinner. I opened up the fridge and found a bottle of teriyaki sauce. That expired 6 months ago. And the thought actually went through my head – should I eat it anyway?
Luckily for my stomach, my better judgement prevailed and I decided I should be able to make my own teriyaki sauce anyway! Looking at the list of ingredients on the bottle, some of which I had no idea how to pronounce, I thought it would probably even be healthier of me to try and figure out how to make my own sauce. I like to think of it as a little gift from the expiration fairy.
And it turns out, teriyaki sauce is pretty easy to make. As I was boiling it, I decided to take it one step further and make it into a glaze that I could slather over a block of tofu.
Now, I’ve never actually used this method of preparation for tofu before – I’m usually a saute in the pan kind of girl. But I didn’t want to get my pans all dirty with my newly made glaze, and one of my favorite vegan cookbooks recommends broiling tofu. So I gave it a shot. And you know what? It was delicious. I pressed the tofu for about 20 minutes before cooking, so a lot of the water was pressed out of it. With the added glaze and broiling method, it turned almost crispy on the outside, and had a great spongey texture on the inside. It was much more substantial than your standard tofu, that’s for sure. One might even refer to it as “meaty.”
Since the entire idea for teriyaki was inspired by my abundance of bok choy in the fridge, while the tofu was broiling, I pan seared the bok choy in a little bit of sesame oil. I served it over quinoa, because I happened to have some on hand, but this would also be great served over rice or cauliflower rice.
The teriyaki flavors mixed with the sesame oil and the slight bite from the bok choy was a really delicious flavor combination. And the whole meal came together right around 30 minutes – which means it doesn’t just have to be reserved for Sunday dinners when I’ve got extra time. I’ll be whipping this up during the weeknights too – especially since I still have a bit of teriyaki glaze left in the fridge. And this time around, I don’t need an expiration date.
Teriyaki Glazed Tofu with Sesame Bok Choy
What You’ll Need:
- 3/4 package of firm tofu
- 2 bunches baby bok choy
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water, plus 1 tablespoon water – divided
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon, plus 3 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced dried onion
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- sesame seeds, red pepper flakes for topping (optional)
What You’ll Do:
- Start by pressing the water out of the tofu – wrap the tofu in a towel or paper towel, and set something heavy (like a cookbook) on top
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onion, 1/4 cup water, and sugar. Stir until sugar is melted and incorporated
- In a separate cup or bowl, add together the tablespoon of water and cornstarch. Bring the sauce to a simmer and slowly add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly to prevent burning. (if you don’t want to make a glaze and just want a sauce, you can skip the cornstarch steps)
- When the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and set aside
- Preheat the oven to broil
- Cut the tofu into squares or triangles and place on a greased baking dish
- Spoon a small amount of glaze on top of the tofu
- Broil for 10 minutes
- Remove from oven, flip tofu over and add more glaze to the other side
- Broil for another 10 minutes
- While the tofu is broiling, heat the sesame oil in a skillet at medium to medium high heat
- Add the bok choy and sear just until the leaves are wilted – this will keep a bit of texture on the stems
- Serve the tofu and bok choy over quinoa, rice, or cauliflower rice
- Sprinkle red pepper flakes and sesame seeds on top (optional)