A dish of lightly fried tofu steaks smothered with tartar sauce was among the courses we had for lunch today. Alex and I both cooked so she had her menu as I had mine.
What are tofu steaks? Isn’t steak essentially meat? Not exactly. Steak is a cut and the term applies to meat and non-meat. So, aside from the slabs of beef that we call steak, there is chicken steak and there is fish steak.
When tofu is cut into large pieces that mimic the shape of meat steak, it is referred to as tofu steak. I’ve cooked tofu steak before — one with stir fried ground pork and another with Chinese broccoli in mushroom sauce.
And tartar sauce? Is that the same as “tartare”? Yes and no. In modern usage, tartare refers to a dish of seasoned chopped or minced raw meat or fish. Tartar sauce, on the other hand, is mayonnaise mixed with chopped ingredients that may include pickles, onions, herbs and hard-boiled eggs. The chopped ingredients give the sauce a rough texture.
However, “tartare” is also a shortened name — a nickname — for any dish served with tartar sauce that were especially popular in France in the 19th and 20th centuries. So, if we go by spelling, “tartare” can be loosely synonymous with tartar sauce.
There is no raw meat in this dish of tofu steaks with tartar sauce. It is, in fact, an ovo-vegetarian dish that I cooked for my vegetarian daughter, Sam.
Based on a recipe from NHK World.
- Boil the eggs until firm, about 10 minutes.
- While the eggs cook, prepare the tofu.
- Cut the tofu into squares at least three-quarters of an inch thick. Place the cut tofu between stacks of paper towels and press lightly to remove excess water. Sprinkle the tofu with salt.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu squares on both sides until browned and crisp. Set aside.
- When the eggs are done, make the tartar sauce. Discard the egg shells. Mash the eggs. Mix with mayonnaise, mustard, rice wine vinegar, salt and chili flakes.
- Arrange two to three tofu steaks on a plate and spoon the tartar sauce beside it.
- Serve the tofu steaks with tartar sauce immediately.
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