Tamarind Marinated Tofu
with bell peppers / rice / baby bok choy
A tamarind and soy marinade tenderizes the tofu in this recipe and gives it a great sour / salty flavor. It also doubles as a sauce which is a great finish to the dish.
Smarts: We've added instructions for the grill just in case it's warm enough for you to get outside, but if not, these are just as good cooked on the stove top.
- Peanuts, roasted and unsalted - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
- Garlic - 1 clove, chopped
- Tamarind concentrate - 3 Tbsp (find this at an international market or on Amazon)
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 3 Tbsp
- Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Honey - 2 tsp
- Skewers, metal or bamboo (opt) - 8
- Rice, uncooked white or brown - 3/4 cup
- Tofu, extra firm (vacuum packed preferable) - 16 oz, 1" / 2.5cm cubes (sub seitan)
- Bell peppers, red - 1, cubed
- Limes - 1, wedges
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Baby bok choy - 12 oz, halved
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Soak skewers - (Skewers are optional; you can also cook the tofu and bell peppers in a skillet on the stovetop.) If using bamboo skewers on an outdoor grill, soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before cooking. This will help prevent the skewers from burning.
- Make rice - (Skip if rice was made ahead on Tuesday.) For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice) and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Tofu - If tofu is packaged in water, press out liquid first. Then slice into 1" / 2.5cm cubes. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Bell peppers / Limes / Peanuts / Garlic - Prep as directed (if you will be using skewers, cut bell peppers into large enough pieces that you can thread them through the skewers). Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make marinade - Combine garlic, tamarind, soy sauce, cooking oil (the portion for the marinade) and red pepper flakes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Marinate tofu - Combine tofu with half the marinade (reserve the other half for sauce). Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
- Make sauce - Whisk peanuts and honey into reserved half of marinade. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
- Bok choy - Halve bok choy lengthwise and then rinse thoroughly in cold water in case any dirt got trapped in the stems. Drain. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- If using skewers, thread tofu and bell peppers onto skewers.
- If cooking on the stovetop: If using skewers, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan with oil (the portion for the bok choy). Sear bok choy on both sides until tender. Season with some salt and set aside. Brush grill with oil (the portion for the tofu) and place tofu on pan. Cook tofu and peppers until golden brown and peppers are tender. (If not using skewers, heat a skillet with some oil and add peppers. Saute until peppers are starting to turn tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tofu (including marinade) and saute until marinade is reduced and tofu is warmed through, ~3 minutes more.)
- If cooking on a grill: Heat a grill to 500F / 260C degrees. Brush grates with oil (the portion for the bok choy). Sear bok choy on both sides until tender. Season with some salt and set aside. Brush grill with oil (the portion for the tofu) and place tofu and bell peppers on grill. Cook until tofu is golden brown and bell peppers are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
- If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
- Serve tofu and bell peppers over rice with bok choy on the side. Enjoy sauce over the top of the entire dish.
I have made this twice, so far. Who knew I loved tamarind paste. The tamarind paste and honey balance each other out- if you want more sweet, add honey, if you want more sour, add more tamarind. Check your honey before you go to the store- of course you have honey, but it’s probably crystallized.0 Helpful
Delicious! Doesn't disappoint. The lime adds a great punch. Love, love, love.0 Helpful
I did fish instead of chicken since I accidentally missed getting chicken. Threw some panko on the fish instead of marinating, only made half the marinade to put on top. Turned out well!0 Helpful
we could not find the tamarind paste but got compressed tamarind in the supermarket. It was difficult to work with but in the end was such a delicious dish!0 Helpful
We really enjoyed this! I overcooked the bok choy just a bit, but it was still very flavorful and delicious. Subbed lime juice and brown sugar for tamarind concentrate (1.5 tbs each), and used garlic powder to save time. We both agreed that we should use way less peanuts next time.0 Helpful
Made this for the kids and they ate almost double portions!0 Helpful