If there’s one complaint you hear about tofu, it’s that it doesn’t have any taste. To which I say, well whose fault is that? If you want flavored tofu, add some flavor. A dry rub is a great way to do this. Dry rubs are spice mixtures rubbed onto food before it is cooked. Generally you see people use them for grilling, especially BBQ. It’s not exactly grilling weather here, nor do we own a grill, so I went with broiling.
The special ingredient in this rub is lapsang souchong. Lapsang souchong is a type of black tea that has a smoky flavor from being dried over pinewood fires. (A hot mug of lapsang souchong with a shot of Scotch and a smidge of honey is a great winter drink).
Sweet and Smoky Dry Rub Tofu
- 1 12-ounce block extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons lapsang souchong, crushed to a powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- olive oil for the baking sheet
- Rinse the tofu and pat dry. Slice the tofu widthwise into eight even slices.
- Mix the sugar, tea, salt and all of the spices in a small bowl. Rub all the spice mixture onto the tofu slices, covering all sides.
- If you’re not in a rush, let the tofu to sit for a couple hours (or even overnight) to allow the flavors to penetrate.
- Move your oven rack to its highest position. Turn the broiler on low.
- Grease a baking sheet. Arrange the tofu slices on the sheet in a single layer and place under the broiler.
- Cook for 11-12 minutes; the tofu should feel firm around the edges. Flip and cook for another 11-12 minutes.
The tofu will firm up as it cools. It should be slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The longer you let it cook, the chewier it gets. Cook it long enough and you might end up with tofu jerky.