I love barbecued tofu, but I have to admit that I don’t always take the time to make my own sauce for it. The bottled stuff is so quick and easy, though I have yet to find a brand that I really like. I may stop using bottled barbecue sauce completely, however, after concocting this zesty new recipe. It has every flavor I look for in a bbq sauce: sweet, tangy, smoky, and spicy. And because the sauce is ketchup-based, it doesn’t take hours to make.
I used Annie’s Natural ketchup, which contains less sugar that regular brands, and added enough chipotle peppers to normally set my family’s mouths ablaze. But somehow during the simmering, the heat mellows out. It was right on the limit of my daughter’s spice-tolerance, but she still managed to eat two servings.
If you are sensitive to spiciness, try starting with less of the chipotles–perhaps 2 teaspoons rather than tablespoons–and add more to your taste. Of course, if heat is your thing, feel free to add more. Also note that you can make the sauce in advance, making it easy enough to bake the tofu in less than an hour.
I’ve found that the easiest way to handle canned chipotles in adobo sauce is to pour the whole can into the blender and puree it. Then, I measure out what I need for the recipe and freeze the rest. Sometimes I use an ice cube try for freezing, but other times I just measure it out by the tablespoon into small snack-sized plastic bags. I put all the plastic bags into one large freezer bag which I label with the date.
Chipotles will last for months in the freezer, and having the portions pre-measured makes it easy to add smoky chipotle flavor to chilies, stews or other dishes.
I served the barbecued tofu over some whole-wheat couscous that I flavored sort of randomly with saffron, fresh herbs, and minced pimento pepper.
Chipotle Barbecued Tofu
- 28 ounces extra-firm tofu (2 packages)
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 4 cloves garlic clove , minced
- 1/2 cup organic ketchup
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (or other sugar or agave nectar)
- 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo
- 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
Slice each block of tofu into 9 slices. Place them on a double layer of paper towels or a clean tea towel (non-fuzzy) and place another double layer over them. Press firmly with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Let them sit on the absorbent material while you make the sauce.
Heat a saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until onion begins to brown, at least 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add all remaining ingredients (except the tofu) and cook, stirring, over medium to low heat, for about 15-20 minutes, until thick and fragrant.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Place a silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet or oil a long, rectangular baking dish. Brush one side of each slice of tofu with a thin layer of sauce and place it on the pan sauce-side down. Spread remaining sauce on the tops and sides of the tofu. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until tofu is firm and just beginning to brown at the corners. Serve hot.
Makes 18 slices. A serving is 3 slices