Since last week’s post, I’ve been continuing to sample and enjoy recipes from The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook. One of the first to catch my eye continues to be a favorite, so I was thrilled when author Adrienne Robillard and photographer Dawn Sakamoto Paiva allowed me to share it in a bonus grilling post this week.
The book’s 50 recipes put Hawaiian flavors on the grill, no matter where your grill is located. I had no trouble finding most of the ingredients listed, even in northwest Montana, and my homegrown vegetables had plenty of chances to play with pineapple, mango, and other tropical flavors. I tried many fish and shellfish recipes from the collection—and more than 20 recipes will satisfy meat lovers. But one I’m going to be making again and again should be on everyone’s list, from carnivores to vegans: Grilled Tofu and Veggies.
From the Book
Besides the book’s mouth-watering photos, there was so much drawing me to the idea of glazed and grilled tofu. Tofu sucks up any flavor you throw at it, so it’s a natural target for any glaze or marinade you might use on meat or sturdy vegetables like beets and mushrooms. The grilled tofu recipe from The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook relies on hoisin sauce for quick yet full flavor. The first ingredient in most commercial hoisin sauce brands is sugar, which readily coats the tofu and caramelizes as it hits the grill. It’s the same concept I use for Glazed Carrots in a fairly hot cast-iron skillet—except you can make it on the grill and avoid cooking yourself out of the house.
Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe, taken straight from The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook, but here are the basics:
You need just 2 main ingredients plus some Asian seasonings and fresh vegetables.
1. Drain and slice the tofu.
2. Mix the glaze.
3. Coat the tofu and vegetables with glaze.
4. Grill and enjoy.
Tips & Tricks
- My first grilled tofu attempt was directly on the fairly wide slats of the yacht club’s commercial-grade gas grill. It left attractive grill marks but wanted to droop into the spaces between the slats, making it a challenge to turn. The small slats of our old charcoal Weber kettle grill made the tofu slabs easier to maneuver; a copper grill mat solved the issue on the wide-slatted grill.
- As with pan-frying tofu, draining is key. Removing the storage liquid from the tofu block not only limits splattering but also leaves more room for the glaze to soak in.
- To grill at the lakeside or a park picnic, drain and cut the tofu at home and then transport it in a lidded container. Mix the glaze at home too, transporting it in a well-sealed jar. It has enough sauce that it’s unlikely to separate, but if it does, just give it a good shake before coating the tofu and vegetables.
- The glaze you set aside can be brushed on once the tofu and veg hit the grill or after they’re on the plate. Because the marinade hasn’t sat with raw meat or shellfish, as it does with my recipe for Chipotle-Marinated Grilled Shrimp, you can refrigerate any leftovers to turn into a one prep, two meals sauce.
Twice as Tasty
My July garden was a ready source for the vegetables recommended to accompany grilled tofu in The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook: zucchini, bell peppers, and the green tops of onions (my standard summer substitute for scallions) are ready to harvest every few days. But as the recipe notes, you can choose plenty of substitutes. Grilled asparagus, eggplant, broccoli, and more paired well with the tofu glaze.
I have yet to make hoisin sauce, but I had to try a Twice as Tasty variation with a homemade base. No surprise: Chinese-Inspired Plum Sauce from my pickling cookbook gave plenty of flavor and has enough sugar to caramelize on the tofu and vegetables.
It’s time to expand your cookbook collection. Order The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook online or ask for it at your favorite local bookstore. Do the same for my cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling, so that you can make Chinese-Inspired Plum Sauce and pickled treats to use in or accompany the grilling recipes.