Now that the indulgences of the holidays are a thing of the past (let’s hope!), it is now time to reset my diet by being intentional with what I eat. With the out-of-control pandemic and US politics, trying to live a healthy lifestyle is at least something that I can control at the beginning of 2021.
Including tofu in my diet is a great way to eat healthy. I mean, even the word tofu = healthy, right?! Cannot argue with that! I have always loved tofu. I like its taste and texture. I love that it is filling, satisfying and can be prepared in so many different ways. Tofu packs tons of protein without clogging the arteries. A block of tofu often saves the day whenever I am busy at work. All I need is a bowl of rice or greens, tofu cut into cubes, a drizzle of soy sauce and hot sauce and voila, quick and healthy lunch! I understand that there are people who do not like tofu. That is okay but do not knock it until you try it. You might end up liking it most especially if it is prepared deliciously like this sticky lemon tofu. It is sweet and sour, and if you love spicy, do not forget those chili or jalapeno peppers.
I was so thrilled the very first time made Sticky Lemon Tofu and loved every bite! It is unbelievable how easy and delicious this recipe is. I have cooked this dish three times already and I am happy to say that I would never get tired of it! I also used my air fryer to fry the tofu cubes. So easy! I love using air fryer so much that I bought a second one. If you do not have one yet, I encourage you to buy one. The prices have gone down and they are pretty affordable here in the US. I cannot live without mine. I “fry” pretty much everything from fries to anything that recommends frying or baking — without using oil! If you do not have an air fryer, tofu can be baked which makes this recipe even healthier.
Thanks to Rabbit and Wolves for sharing Vegan Sticky Lemon Tofu on their blog where I adapted my recipe from. If you are vegan, check out Rabbit and Wolves.
STICKY LEMON TOFU
- 1 block extra firm tofu or firm tofu *See my note
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar *See my note
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- Steamed brown or white rice for serving
- Chili or jalapeno pepper (optional)
- Green onions for garnish (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. *See my notes if using an air fryer.
- Cut tofu into cubes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss in a sheet pan and bake in a single layer until brown and crispy, about 30 minutes.
- While the tofu is baking, juice and zest the lemon. Set aside.
- In a wok or frying pan, make the lemon sauce by combining lemon juice and sugar, soy sauce, and chicken broth. Simmer in medium heat then lower the heat.
- Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Add to the lemon sauce and continue to whisk for about a minute or two until sauce is thick.
- Add the lemon zest. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.
- Once the tofu is finished baking, toss the tofu in the sauce until coated. Garnish with sliced chili peppers and/or green onions if using.
- Serve with rice.
INSTRUCTIONS IF USING AN AIR FRYER
- Pat dry the tofu block with a paper towel.
- Cut into cubes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Spray with nonstick canola oil.
- Place tofu in the air fryer pocket.
- Set temperature for 400 degrees.
- Set timer for 5 minutes then shake.
- Continue to air fry for another 5 minutes until crispy and brown.
- My second air fryer does not have a temperature feature. I just set the timer for 5 minutes at a time and keep on checking until tofu cubes are crispy and brown.
HOW TO PRESS TOFU
- Open the tofu and drain off the liquid.
- To remove as much liquid as possible, wrap the tofu in few layers of paper towels or clean kitchen towel then gently squeeze without losing its shape.
- For further pressing, place wrapped tofu in colander then place small plate on top of it, then weight it down using a can or heavy bag of beans. Allow to drain for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Having made this dish 3 times already, I find that extra firm tofu is the best kind to use instead of “firm” tofu. I also found out that I really do not need to drain the extra firm tofu to get rid of excess liquid. I just gently press it. *See my notes above. (I buy the ones from Trader Joe’s.) Firm tofu (not extra firm) needs to be drained, though. See my note on how to drain tofu of excess liquid.
- I like my sauce on the sweet side. I suggest that you start with 1/8 cup of sugar and taste the lemon mixture before simmering. If you want the sauce to be sweeter, just add more sugar. (Less sweet, start with less sugar.) You can also use agave syrup.
- If you want the dish to be saucy, double the recipe for the lemon sauce.