Smoked Tea Infused Tofu

Recently I rediscovered my love for tea. Presumably it won’t last long, because we are heading right into summer. So unless I switch to ice tea, I’ll probably stock the fridge with cold water. But I am enjoying my tea cravings as long as they last. My newest discovery is called tarry lapsang souchong. I guess I am the last person on earth to discover this tea variety, but if you are in the same boat, lapsang souchong is Chinese smoked black tea. When brewed it has a very distinct and strong smoky flavour that might not be for everyone. Since I grew up on East Frisian Tea, I am not the person to refuse a cup of a strong beverage.

When I opened the package I was at first confused by the strong smoky smell which reminded me of smoked sausages. I had to remind myself that it was the smoking procedure itself that had produced this smell and not what my brain connected to it. But then what would be so bad about adding this smell and flavour back to some food? And what would be a better use for this tea than tofu marinade?

For this marinade I used 2 teaspoons of lapsang souchong and 150 ml of boiling water. Steeping time was 20 minutes. For the tofu I used the dry fry method, which is pretty simple and doesn’t take as much time as marinating and baking the tofu. In the end the smoky flavour wasn’t as strong as I had hoped for, but definitely noticeable.

Smoked Tea Infused Tofu

1 block extra firm or firm tofu (250g)
100 ml brewed lapsang souchong (see instructions above)
1 tablespoon jerk sauce (I use the Encona brand. If you can’t find this sauce, substitute Worcestershire sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less, depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 large garlic clove, pressed

First, you want to press the tofu. Wrap the block in a clean kitchen towel. Place a cast iron pan or a similar heavy object on top of the tofu. Let sit for about two hours.

Prepare your marinade by combining all ingredients. Cut the tofu into bite size rectangles, about 1/2 cm (1/8 inch) thick. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Don’t add any oil. Transfer the tofu pieces to the pan and cook until golden brown, then flip and brown the other side. Pour the marinade into the pan and cook the tofu until it has absorbed almost all liquid. This will take between 5 and 15 minutes.

Note: this tofu tastes even better when eaten lukewarm or even cold. I served it with steamed asparagus and fried polenta.

28 thoughts on “Smoked Tea Infused Tofu

  1. This sounds great! I am not a big fan of tea (I hate the stuff, actually), but I am curious to try cooking with it. I’m sure this tofu is delicious, your recipes always are!

  2. Yummy! I love tofu in every way, so this is one new thing to try, thanks for sharing ;)

    By the by, if you love tea, you should try some fresh mint tea, put it in the fridge and serve it with some icecubes. It’s the most refreshing thing in summer!

  3. You can’t be the last person to have heard of that tea – I am just now learning of it! Smoked tea sounds like a great flavoring for tofu. Your method for cooking it sounds great too – the tofu must really soak up the smoky flavor you first smelled. Now I need to see where I can buy some of that…

  4. I keep saying I should cook with tea more often. With all the interesting varieties of tea available, it’s not too hard to find inspiration for great matches! You were clearly inspired when you thought of that recipe: it sounds great!
    Also, I hadn’t heard of the dry fry method; it sounds really interesting. I must give it a try soon!

  5. I used to really enjoy a certain smoked tea blend, but for whatever reason I haven’t had it in a long time. Perhaps it’s time to revisit it–both for drinking and for use in your amazing-sounding tofu recipe. :)

  6. I’m totally intrigued. I’ve seen this tea used to impart a smoky flavour in some raw foods as well. I will have to try to find it locally.

  7. Now that’s a tea I would love! I’m not a huge tea fan because the flavors of most teas are not strong enough for me, but I LOVE smoked beers (Rauchbier is my very fave!!!). So I’d probably also love smoked teas. And I bet it’s wonderful as a tofu marinade!!

    On your comment from my blog post today, I’ve only had one friend getting married, but I’ve been posting photos from all the pre-wedding parties a lot lately. Same girl though….she’s just having a ton of pre-event, vegan food-related stuff (two showers, a bachelorette party, and a rehearsal dinner and bridesmaids luncheon coming up). :-)

  8. Oooh! Lapsang has role in my upcoming book. It was the first time I’d played with it, and I’m hooked. The smoky flavor is wonderful. It’s not my drink, but it’s fun!

    Your tofu is gorgeous and I’m definitely going to give it a try.

  9. love the pic, C! I quit smoking long ago, but I’d start again just for that. lame joke? lame joke. that’s my special-tea.

    1. I thought about smoking the tea for a second. But since I never had a cigarette in my life, I’d probably have burnt down the house.

  10. Love it! I think that tea should really be thought of more often in both the savory and pastry kitchen, and this is such an easy, brilliant way to incorporate it. Definitely gonna use this idea asap- And what a delicious sounding tea by itself!

  11. Wow! I can not wait to try this out! I’ve only cooked with tea once,in a dessert-tea poached pears with chocolate sauce,and it was incredible! I haven’t had any Lapsang Souchong int he house in years,got burned out on it,but I think I will have to run out and buy some just for this recipe! I’m toying with the idea of using Genmai Cha tea in a recipe. Haven’t worked on it yet,but I think I need to get started on it soon. You just inspired me!

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