Here’s what you need:
1 package extra firm tofu
1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon neutral oil (I use safflower oil)
1 tablespoon garlic paste or 2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon ginger paste, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or 1/2 inch fresh ginger (minced)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons mirin or sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Optional additions: 2 green onions, sliced; handful of chopped cilantro; one cooked portabella mushroom cap, cubed; head of broccoli, microwaved for 2-3 minutes
Here’s what you do:
1. Drain the tofu: Place the tofu on top of two paper towels, then place two more paper towels on top of the tofu. Place a heavy item on top–like a cast iron skillet. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Remove the wet towels and replace with dry ones, replace the skillet, and let rest another 15 minutes. Then, chop the tofu into small cubes.
2. While the tofu is draining, make the teriyaki sauce: add 1 teaspoon oil to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Then, add the brown sugar and cook, stirring often, until it starts to bubble. Add the mirin or sake and let some of the alcohol burn off. Then add the soy sauce, lower the heat to medium, and allow to simmer.
3. Fry the tofu: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a nonstick pan over high heat. Toss the tofu cubes in cornstarch. Then, add all the tofu to the pan and allow to sit and crisp/brown, for about 5 minutes. Flip the tofu pieces around, and allow to crisp/brown on as many sides as you’d like.
4. When the tofu is fried, turn down the heat to medium/low, add the teriyaki sauce and any other optional additions to the pan. Stir to combine.
Serve over white rice, or over a cabbage salad, and enjoy!
Cabbage salad suggestion: Combine 1/2 head green cabbage shredded/chopped, one sliced cucumber, 1 sliced green onion, 1 chopped handful of cilantro, 1/4 cup peanuts or sliced almonds, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar. When you pour the hot teriyaki tofu over the top, it gently warms and cooks the salad just slightly.