I love the idea of tofu because it is inexpensive, healthy and easy to get. Before children I frequently made stir fries laden with vegetables, peanuts and spicy sauces. But I have yet to figure out how to make a stir fry with children clammoring to help me cook or to watch-it just never seems safe. So, unless I am grilling it up with soy sauce and sesame oil on the Foreman grill, I rarely cook tofu anymore. However, when I watched "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie" and they featured this dish on a show about Korea, I knew I had to make it. The first time I kept the spices to the side so that my kids could at least have a chance of enjoying it. So what happened? The 3 1/2 year old loved the warm tofu with soy sauce, while my 1 1/2 year old loved the spicy version! I adored how easy and delicious it was. I found the Korean hot pepper at the Super 88/Hong Kong Supermarket in Brighton, as well as H-Mart in Burlington. My foodie friend also bought me some at Christina's in Inman Square in Cambridge. You could skip it, though the taste isn't quite the same without the extra heat.
Warm Tofu with Garlic-Sesame Sauce, Adapted from Gourmet.Com
1 (14- to 18-oz) package soft tofu (not silken)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped scallion
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon coarse Korean hot red-pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Carefully rinse tofu, then cover with cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then keep warm, covered, over very low heat. Mix remaining ingredients (except tofu). I use a small food processor.
Just before serving, carefully lift tofu from saucepan with a large spatula and drain on paper towels. Gently pat dry, then transfer to a small plate. Spoon some sauce over tofu and serve warm. Serve remaining sauce on the side
I like to serve it with bowls of warm sticky rice for mopping up more of the sauce. You can make the sauce 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.