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This is a little sweet, a little sour and a lot of spicy goodness. I came up with this recipe for my mother-in-law, a vegetarian who doesn't like tofu; but its based on a traditional Cajun BBQ sauce and a technique from "The Art of Tofu." The BBQ "shrimp" make a great appetizer when served with garlic bread for sucking up the sauce or as main-dish with some rice or mashed potatoes. The real trick to this is the tofu. It has to be the Japanese-Style silken tofu, which comes in the shelf-stable aseptic box. And it has to be frozen at least overnight. Prep time doesn't include freeze time or thaw time. Enjoy!
- 2 (12 1/3 ounce) boxes extra-firm silken tofu
- 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 3 celery ribs
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 3 minced garlic cloves (or more)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 8 roma tomatoes
- 2 zucchini (or other summer squash)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried chives
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried onion
- 3⁄4 teaspoon paprika
- 3⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne (or more) (optional)
- 1⁄3 cup molasses
- 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 lemons
- Tofu Preparation: Cut open the boxes of tofu and slice in half lengthwise. Then slice crosswise into 1/3 to 1/2 inch strips. Lay out the strips on parchment or plastic-film covered baking dish. Cover tofu and freeze overnight or up to a week ahead. The longer you let it freeze the more shrimp like the tofu texture will become. Remove tofu from freezer 1 to 2 hours before cook time. Transfer the slices to a dry kitchen towel or some paper towels to allow it to defrost. When defrosted, use towel to gently blot up any remaining moisture. Liberally sprinkle each side of the tofu with the soy sauce, the "Old Bay" and 1 teaspoon Cayenne. Allow to marinate which prepping the rest of the ingredients.
- Veggie Prep Work: Dice onions. Dice carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Mince parsley and separate tablespoons. De-seed tomatoes and chop. Chop zucchini. Quarter and de-seed lemons.
- Cajun Spices: Mix dried spices, except the extra cayenne.(You may also use about 1 to 2 tablespoons commercial SALT-FREE spice mix.).
- Cooking: In a large skillet or wok heat the olive oil on low. Sweat the onions on low heat till soft but not yet translucent (about 10 min.) Add carrots, celery, and bell peppers to skillet and continue to sweat till peppers and carrots are soft (about 10 min.) Add garlic and half the parsley, tomatoes, zucchini, 1/2 to 3/4 of the dry spices, molasses and vinegar to skillet. Squeeze the lemon chunks then add them to the skillet too. Simmer till the tomatoes and zucchini soften and the sauce thickens up a bit (about 10 min.) Add tofu gently stir and simmer 5 minutes.Taste sauce for heat and spiciness, add the cayenne if you really like it hot or more dried spices for boldness. If you add more spice simmer a minute or two more.
- Garnish with remaining parsley and served over rice, potatoes, or with toast.