Spicy Ketchup-Braised Tofu

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Spicy Ketchup-Braised TofuVaguely Chinese, more honestly American, and so delicious. Serve with rice or noodles, or even (gasp!) on bread.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • ½ cup good-quality vegetable oil
  • 1½ –2 pounds firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 8 slices and pressed
  • lightly (see page 483)
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1½ cups ketchup
  • Cayenne
  • Fresh lemon juice
How to Make It
  1. Put about ⅓ cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, dredge the tofu slices lightly in the flour and add them, one at a time, to the skillet. Do not crowd; you may have to cook in batches. Sprinkle the tofu with salt and pepper as it cooks. As the pieces brown, turn and brown the other side; total cooking time per piece will be 4 to 6 minutes. When the pieces are done, transfer them to a plate. Wipe out the skillet.
  2. Put the remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat and immediately add the garlic. Cook for a minute or 2, until fragrant but not colored. Add the ketchup and cayenne to taste (start with about ¼ teaspoon). Cook, stirring and adjusting the heat if necessary, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce bubbles, thickens, and starts to caramelize around the edges of the pan.
  3. Return the tofu to the sauce and turn until evenly coated; stir in lemon juice to taste, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve.

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