To learn more about this recipe, click the following link to read the related story, "Meatless (Labor Day) Monday," in Tasting Table's National edition.
Spicy Barbecued Tofu Kebabs
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 kebabs (with leftover barbecue sauce)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and grated
½ medium shallot, very finely chopped
¼ cup no-salt-added tomato paste
½ cup water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons canola oil
Chopped cilantro, for serving
1. To a spice grinder add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds and peppercorns. Cover and pulse briefly for a coarse powder.
2. To a small nonstick skillet set over medium heat, add the oil and heat until it shimmers, about 1 minute. Add the spice mixture and cook until the spices are toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook until fragrant, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook until its color deepens, about 2 minutes. Pour in the water, then add the honey and salt and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a heat-safe container.
3. Set the tofu on a double layer of paper towels. Cover the tofu with 2 more sheets of paper towel and gently press to extract its moisture. (Use light pressure so the tofu doesn't crack.) Slice the tofu into 1-inch cubes, then thread it onto 6 skewers. (If using wood skewers soak them in cold water for 20 minutes before using.) Brush the tofu with a little of the oil, lightly coating all sides.
4. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Use tongs to dip a folded paper towel into the remaining canola oil, then use it to grease the grill grates. Set the tofu skewers on the grill. Brush the top of the skewers with the barbecue sauce and cook until the underside of the tofu is browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the skewers and brush the tofu with more sauce. Continue to cook the skewers until all sides are browned and nicely coated with sauce, 4 to 8 minutes total. Transfer the skewers to a platter and serve sprinkled with cilantro and with extra barbecue sauce on the side.