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Gluten-Free Beer-Grilled Tofu

This post was first published on 7th September 2016 & has since been updated & republished.

Tofu is a staple of most vegan kitchens, but for some reason seems to be the most commonly derided & sneered at of all the ‘vegan’ foods.

I think that’s because most people have no idea how to prepare it.

There are about a million-and-one ways to prepare tofu. I’m planning a big post where I gather some of my best tofu tips & recipes (be warned, I have a lot of tofu tips & recipes).

First though, I wanted to update and reshare this beer-grilled tofu recipe.

I first made it a few years ago, using a dark stout beer, but it can be hard to get hold of gluten-free and vegan stouts (it can be hard to get hold of gluten-free and vegan beers full stop). I quit drinking last year, but still have a few bottles of gluten-free lager kicking around, so I thought this was rthe perfect opprtunity to update this recipe and show you how its evolved over the years.

The original recipe was made using a beer gifted from Redwell Brewing, in Norwich, so I’m still going to give them a shout. Before I quit drinking, I loved beer – and especially rich, dark beers. Redwell’s Kofra was beautiful, with a thick, velvety texture and gorgeous coffee kick.

How to prepare tofu for grilling

How to prepare tofu for grilling

Okay, before I dive into the updated recipe, I’ll share my top three tips for prepping tofu. The post I’m planning will include a bunch more tips, but here’s a quick-and-dirty overview.

Just a note here, this recipe calls for firm tofu. It’ll generally look like a plainish (maybe slightly spongey/cracked-looking in places) white cuboid lump. Not a liquid, and not deep-fried (though those verieties both have their uses too). It should come from the fresh fridges in the supermarket, and will come in a box or bag packaged with water.

1. Press your tofu

I think the main reason tofu gets a bad rep is becuse people don’t know how to prepare it – They see it as a straight up replacement for chicken or other meats, which it just… isn’t.

Why press tofu?

Pressing tofu squeezes out as much of the liquid it was sold in as possible – then, when you marinate it, it’ll soak up more flavour. Think of it like a sponge – you can squeeze the water out, but when you drop it back into clean water it’ll soak that liquid back up.

How to press tofu

You can get all sorts of fancy tofu-press machines, but I’ve never used one so can’t reccommend any. Instead I:

  1. Open the tofu package (over the sink, to avoid tofu water going everywhere)
  2. Drain the excess water & pat dry with kitchen paper
  3. Take a chopping board and layer a couple of pieces of kitchen paper onto it
  4. place the tofu on top of the paper
  5. Layer another couple of pieces of kitchen  paper over the tofu
  6. balance another chopping board on top of that
  7. Weigh it down using 4-6 (full) cans of beans, 2-3 heavy hardback cookbooks, or anything else of equivalent weight
  8. Leave to press for 30 minutes to an hour, changing the paper halfway through.
How to press tofu

2. Rip it into chunks

This is honestly such an underrated tip. Instead of neatly chopping your tofu into cubes, rip it into even(ish) chunks.

I honestly don’t know why, but this just seems to soak up the flavour better (possibly the rougher ripped edges give more surface area?) and it also means that you get some crispy ends as well as flavourful chunks once the tofu is cooked, instead of a completely even, uniform bake on all sides.

3. Give it some flavour

Again, part of people’s problem with tofu is that it is, essentially, flavourless. To me, that just means tat you can throw herbs, spices and other strong, pungent flavours at it, and it’ll just soak it all up and serve it back.

This recipe uses fresh chillis, garlic and lime, as well as dried spices (and that all-important beer) to give you fresh yet rich Southeast-Asian style flavours.

Grilled tofu recipe

Gluten-Free Beer-Grilled Tofu recipe

Gluten-free beer-grilled tofu

Beer-grilled tofu recipe with punchy Southeast Asian flavours, plus step-by-step instructions on pressing and preparing tofu for the grill
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Pressing & marinating2 hrs
Course: lunch, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Southeast Asian, Vegan
Servings: 2
Author: zoepickburn

Ingredients

  • 350 g Firm tofu
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 in. Ginger
  • 2 Red chillis
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. Smoked paprika
  • 1 Lime (juice & zest)
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 100 ml Beer (gluten-free)

Instructions

  • First, prepare the tofu (as above): Remove it from the packaging, wrap in kitchen paper and press between two boards with a weight on top

Make the marinade while the tofu is pressing

  • Put all the ingredients except for the beer into the bowl of a blender:
    Peel and roughly chop the garlic and ginger
    De-seed and roughly chop the chillis
    Measure in the corriander & paprika
    Zest half the lime, then juice the whole lime
    Measure in the maple syrup and the coconut oil
  • Blend the ingredients until they look like a thick, fairly smooth red paste
  • Take the paste out of the blender and put it into a bowl or jug
  • Measure out the beer, carefully add it to the paste, and gently stir to mix together

Once the tofu is pressed

  • Tear the tofu into even, approx. 1-2 inch cubed pieces, and put it into a bowl or dish
  • Pour the marinade over the tofu, gently stir to cover all the tofu in the marinade, and leave to marinate for at least an hour, preferably longer
  • When you are ready, heat the grill 175°C (350 °F approx.), spread the tofu chunks on a grill tray, and then cook the tofu under the grill for around ___
  • Serve with steamed greens (and a cold beer)

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Recipe for grilled tofu
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