Smoked Tea Infused Tofu
Recently I rediscovered my love for tea. Presumably it won’t last long, because we are heading right into summer. So unless I switch to ice tea, I’ll probably stock the fridge with cold water. But I am enjoying my tea cravings as long as they last. My newest discovery is called tarry lapsang souchong. I guess I am the last person on earth to discover this tea variety, but if you are in the same boat, lapsang souchong is Chinese smoked black tea. When brewed it has a very distinct and strong smoky flavour that might not be for everyone. Since I grew up on East Frisian Tea, I am not the person to refuse a cup of a strong beverage.
When I opened the package I was at first confused by the strong smoky smell which reminded me of smoked sausages. I had to remind myself that it was the smoking procedure itself that had produced this smell and not what my brain connected to it. But then what would be so bad about adding this smell and flavour back to some food? And what would be a better use for this tea than tofu marinade?
For this marinade I used 2 teaspoons of lapsang souchong and 150 ml of boiling water. Steeping time was 20 minutes. For the tofu I used the dry fry method, which is pretty simple and doesn’t take as much time as marinating and baking the tofu. In the end the smoky flavour wasn’t as strong as I had hoped for, but definitely noticeable.
Smoked Tea Infused Tofu
1 block extra firm or firm tofu (250g)
100 ml brewed lapsang souchong (see instructions above)
1 tablespoon jerk sauce (I use the Encona brand. If you can’t find this sauce, substitute Worcestershire sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less, depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 large garlic clove, pressed
First, you want to press the tofu. Wrap the block in a clean kitchen towel. Place a cast iron pan or a similar heavy object on top of the tofu. Let sit for about two hours.
Prepare your marinade by combining all ingredients. Cut the tofu into bite size rectangles, about 1/2 cm (1/8 inch) thick. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Don’t add any oil. Transfer the tofu pieces to the pan and cook until golden brown, then flip and brown the other side. Pour the marinade into the pan and cook the tofu until it has absorbed almost all liquid. This will take between 5 and 15 minutes.
Note: this tofu tastes even better when eaten lukewarm or even cold. I served it with steamed asparagus and fried polenta.