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Sesame-Ginger Tofu and Shiitake Kebabs


Serves four.

Yields eight kebabs.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 106

Extra-firm tofu is meaty and filling, and absorbs the potent flavors of a marinade, making it a fine addition to summer kebabs, whether you're a strict vegetarian or just an occasional one. Serve these kebabs with brown rice or somen noodles.

  • One 14-oz. package water-packed extra-firm tofu, well drained
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. rice wine (sake or Shaoxing)
  • 3 Tbs. hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 2 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 40 medium shiitake mushrooms (about 1 lb.), stems trimmed
  • 2 bunches scallions (white and light-green parts only), cut into 1-inch lengths to yield 40 pieces
  • 1 orange
  • Nonstick cooking spray

In a shallow pan, soak eight 12-inch bamboo skewers in water while you work. Sandwich the tofu between paper towels and put on a plate. Set a small heavy pot or cutting board on the tofu to press out excess moisture. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Cut the tofu into 40 cubes by first slicing the tofu block in half horizontally and then cutting each half into 20 cubes.

In a large bowl, whisk the soy sauce, rice wine, hoisin sauce, peanut oil, sesame oil, ginger, and honey. Add the tofu, mushrooms, and scallions. Marinate at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring frequently but gently.

Trim the ends of the orange, cut it lengthwise into quarters, and then slice each quarter crosswise into 6?slices, to yield 24 slices total.

Line a large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat the foil with cooking spray. Position a rack 8 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.

Thread 5 scallion pieces, 5 shiitakes, 5 pieces of tofu, and 3 orange slices onto each skewer in an alternating pattern. Arrange the skewers on the baking sheet. Broil until nicely browned on one side, 5 to 6 minutes. Gently turn the kebabs over and cook until golden brown on the other side, 5 to 6 minutes more.

Meanwhile, pour the remaining marinade into a small (1-quart) saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until slightly reduced and the flavors meld, about 2 minutes.

Arrange the kebabs on a serving platter or on individual plates. Drizzle with the sauce and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 230, Fat (kcal): 10, Fat Calories (g): 90, Saturated Fat (g): 1, Protein (g): 13, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6, Carbohydrates (mg): 29, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 200, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Scott Phillips

We have made this so many times and it's been fabulous every time. I double the recipe for the marinade just to have more sauce to cover th servings a little more in the end.. We all love the flavors so much! Wonderful recipe, thank you Fine Cooking!

The family loved the flavor; I took the time to make a homemade hoisin sauce instead of store-bought. I did a tofu and a chicken version at the same time. Cooking the sauce down and putting over rice noodles was a hit. I agree the recipe takes a while, but I thought the skewering took most of the time. Toward that end, we were wondering about stir frying it with smaller tofu cubes and possibly juicing the orange into the marinade instead of having to skewer them as slices. Lastly, we used fresh small portabellos as the market didn't have shitakes. Delicious.

I would rate this a four, since it was very good--it's just that it was so time consuming that on balance, I wouldn't make it again. If it were a five star meal, it might be worth the time--I just can't figure out any way to elevate it to five stars. Adding some srihachi sauce did help make it taste better. One thing that may have impacted the flavor is that the broiler had a pretty hard time browning the skewers. By the end they were sitting in a puddle of liquid. This probably caused some steaming. I'd probably try moving the pan a couple inches closer to the elements than they suggest. I did save the liquid and add it to the sauce and further boil it down to thicken it.

I happened to have everything on hand to make these tonight and my wife loved it as much as I! My favorite part was the scallions, but the entire dish was delish and will earn a place in my personal cookbook. Thank you!

I cooked this last summer for a vegan friend who came over for lunch and everyone really enjoyed it. Very tasty and light.

We love tofu and this is a delicious preparation-- the tofu has lots of flavor and the mushrooms and other tidbits make great contrasts in texture. This would be perfect for those poor vegetarians at a cookout. If you hate tofu, this recipe is very adaptable to other proteins--indeed, I have made this recipe with beef-- not exactly in with the "eat less meat" theme, but absolutely delicious. I love the little orange segments between the other kebab bits-- they get all juicy and are really tasty-- they complement the flavor of the tofu (or beef) quite nicely. A versatile, easy, and satisfying recipe.

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