Last updated on March 25th, 2020 at 03:53 pm
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Cookware is my kitchen poison. I love a good appliance – I probably have too many – but good quality cookware is my real kitchen obsession. I have trawled kitchen aisles and websites for just the right pan on more than one occasion. So, when my Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan arrived to say I was excited is something of an understatement. For this post I am making a gorgeously simple Tofu Yakitori… but why stop there?
Since it arrived I have used my grill pan to sear vegetables served with satay sauce, I grilled my BBQ vegan black bean burgers (so good!) and I played with grilled peaches and served them with the oatmeal ice-cream from my cookbook. The caramelisation on the peaches was out of this world.
I really like this grill for a few reasons:
- made from cast iron it is sturdy as heck
- it arrived pre-seasoned and ready to use – win!
- the pan itself isn’t heavy, and
- it has two handles making it super easy to move about
But what I love best is that I can get those GORGEOUS and tasty grill marks on my food without trudging outside and firing up the BBQ.
I see big things happening for me and my new grill pan over the Winter when it’s too cold to fire up anything outside. But today, I am super excited to dive in to some Tofu Yakitori.
What is yakitori?
The word “yakitori” literally means “grilled chicken” (Huffpost) however other meats and vegetables are cooked in the style too. Served on skewers yakitori is traditionally cooked over a flame on a rectangle clay box with a wire grate over the top.
Unlike Western BBQ, yakitori doesn’t use rubs to infuse flavour. Rather the meat, or in our case tofu, is brushed with a spanking-good soy and rice wine sauce called a “tare” (pronounced tah-re). I suggest making double the sauce recipe so you can dip everything not nailed down in to it. It’s that good.
Making tofu yakitori couldn’t be simpler. First, I drain the tofu to remove moisture. Next I spend a whole 7 minutes making one of the best sauces you’ll ever try. Then I chop the tofu and some veggies and thread them on to skewers.
Finally, I place each skewer on my new Lodge grill pan and watch those gorgeous grill marks appear. While turning the skewers, I brush the tofu and vegetables with THAT dipping sauce. Oh, my goodness the smells!
And that’s it. A gorgeous appetiser or main served with steamed rice ready in around 15-minutes.
Besides tofu, you can get creative and make a banquet of skewers. The grilling and dipping sauce is the same. I’ve made:
- mixed vegetable skewers – think “grilled peppers, onion and zucchini”
- oyster mushroom skewers
Japanese cuisine is known for its perfectly balanced dishes using only the ingredients that serve the finished plate. This tofu yakitori is no exception. It is simply grilled tofu skewers but paired with a 4-ingredient dipping sauce, the tofu rises to a whole other level. Whether cooked on a BBQ or a good quality grill pan, these tofu yakitori skewers are healthy, simple and finger licking delicious.
NOTE: The folks at Everten were kind enough to send me the LODGE 11 inch Cast Iron Chef Style Square Grill to try out. A big bear hug coming their way. Like I said, cookware is my guilty pleasure so I was thrilled to add this pan to my collection. Thanks LODGE and Everten!
Simple Tofu Yakitori
FOR THE TOFU SKEWERS
- 400 grams firm tofu organic if possible
- 3 scallions / spring onions whites only, cut in to 1/2 inch batons
- 1/2 red onion peeled and sliced in to 6-8 wedges
FOR THE TARE
- 3 tbsp cooking sake or Chinese rice wine
- 90 ml light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 1/2 tsp raw sugar
- Place the tofu on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Place another sheet of paper over the tofu and place a heavy object - I use a pan - on top. Leave it to sit for at least an hour to drain. Meanwhile, place your bamboo or wooden skewers in water to soak for 1 hour.
- To make the sauce, put all the tare ingredients in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Allow the mixture to come up to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook for around 7 minutes. Make sure the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Drain the bamboo skewers ready to make the skewers. To assemble the skewers, take the drained tofu and cut it lengthways 3 times to create 4 long batons. Take each thick baton and turn it on its side to cut it in half lengthways again. Finally, cut each thinner baton in to three shorter lengths
- Skewer a tofu baton lengthways pushing it down the skewer. Follow with a scallion baton or an onion wedge before adding another tofu baton and another vegetable if there is room. Repeat with the remaining tofu and vegetables.
- Brush the tofu and vegetables with a little vegetable oil and heat the grill pan over medium heat.
- When hot add the tofu skewers and cook for around 3 minutes on each side - try to not move the skewers while you are cooking to get those great grill marks. While cooking, brush the tofu and vegetables with the dipping sauce.
- When all sides are cooked, remove them from the heat and pop the on a plate to serve. Brush each skewer liberally with the dipping sauce and pour the remaining sauce in to a small bowl to serve.