Everyone from vegetarians to steak lovers seems to like this recipe. The tofu is cooked twice to firm it up and give it a nice crust: First it’s stir-fried and then it’s grilled. The stir-frying can be done a day or two ahead, so when it comes time to grill, all you have to do is put the kebabs on the grill and baste them with sauce.
Prep and press: 30 minutes (plus 5 minutes for sauce)
Stir-fry: 15 minutes
Marinate: 8 hours
Grill: 5 to 8 minutes.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– 8 skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes if bamboo
– Heat-resistant grill mitts.
– Pressing tofu makes it firmer by forcing out excess liquid. Drain the blocks of tofu and then cut them in half through the side to make thinner slabs. Put the slabs on a cutting board near the sink, propped up slightly so that liquid drains into the sink. Cover with another board or big plate and put a heavy weight on top, such as a big book or a pan filled with water. Let drain for 30 minutes, then use as directed.
– Tamari is a dark, rich-tasting Japanese soy sauce. Look for it in the Asian section of your grocery store or in a health-food store. Lighter Chinese soy sauce makes a fine substitute.
Gas: Direct heat, medium (350°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 4 inches above the fire.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 8 KEBABS)
2 tablespoons peanut oil or other vegetable oil
2 pounds extra-firm tofu, pressed (see Tips) and cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¾ cup Indonesian Peanut Sauce
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
16 cherry tomatoes
Oil for coating grill grate
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro.
1. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the tofu and toss to coat it with oil. Cook, flipping the pieces every couple of minutes, until lightly golden all over, about 15 minutes. (Do this in batches if your pan isn’t big enough to hold the tofu in a single layer.) Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, mix the tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a large bowl or plastic container. Add the tofu, cover, and toss until the tofu is well coated. Uncover to release any steam. Re-cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, tossing occasionally to coat the tofu.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. In a small saucepan, simmer the peanut sauce gently over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
5. Thread the tofu, bell pepper, and tomatoes on the skewers, using 2 to 3 pieces of tofu for every piece of pepper and tomato. Brush the peanut sauce generously over the tofu and vegetables.
6. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the skewers on the grill and cook until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is nicely grill-marked, turning often, 5 to 8 minutes total.
7. Serve with the chopped cilantro and any remaining peanut sauce.