1 pkg. extra firm tofu
lemon or lime juice
1 T. paprika
2 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 t.)
1/2 t. ground oregano
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. ground fennel seeds
1/2 t. celery seed
1/2 t. sea salt
1 T. arrowroot
Slice the tofu about 1/4 inch thick and marinate in lemon juice for about 20 minutes, turning over after about 10 minutes. Mix all the spices together in a shallow bowl. Add each piece of tofu to the spice mixture to coat, gently tap off excess and set aside. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add tofu slices and brown about 5 minutes each side. Don't turn it over too soon or the spices may stick. Serve immediately.
I like to freeze my tofu before cooking with it, since I like the chewier consistency. I learned a tip the other day from another vegan; she learned it from an old Asian cookbook. Boil the frozen tofu until it is thawed. I removed it from the water, pressed it with a towel, then sliced it thinly. I laid each slice on a plate with a paper towel, covered it with another paper towel and put another plate on top of that to press it just a little bit more. Then I marinated it in the lemon juice. I have to say I've never had tofu absorb flavors like this before! I am SOLD on this technique. That said, however, this recipe did give the tofu a tangier taste than we preferred. I came across another recipe for blackened tofu, and this one didn't call for any marinating, just coating with melted vegan butter or even olive oil before dipping it in the spices. I am definitely going to try it that way next time!
Another marinade I found when looking later suggested this:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. garlic, crushed
4 drops liquid smoke
Pinch black pepper
1 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot
I don't know if I'll use it for the blackened tofu dish, but I might certainly try it when making tofu steaks!
I served it with store bought cole slaw mix and a homemade sauce and store bought spicy french fries. We enjoyed it, except for the aforementioned lemony tang. The kids thought it would be good with tartar sauce, but we didn't have any or I would have whipped some up if I'd known sooner.
Another suggestion is to add about 1/2 c. flour to the seasoning mix and 1/2 c. breadcrumbs, but I haven't tried that. Not sure it is really necessary, but some might want to try it for more crunch.
Blackening food is often associated with traditional Cajun cuisine, but is really said to be a modern invention of chef Paul Prudhomme back in the 70s. The food is dipped in melted butter and then dredged in a mixture of herbs and spices before frying at high heat in a cast iron skillet. I really have to wonder if it wasn't an invention so much as an accidental discovery!
At any rate, this was a yummy way to make tofu.