I admit that my waffle iron sees the inside of a cupboard more often than it does daylight on a countertop.
I drag it out on the rare weekends that I’m energized early enough in the mornings to whip up a breakfast of crisp, golden waffles.
But ever since spying this recipe for “Waffled Miso-Sesame Tofu with Waffled Sticky Rice” on Serious Eats, I’ve been intrigued. So fascinated, in fact, that it actually prompted me to take out my much-neglected appliance to see just what it would be like to cook tofu and sticky rice, of all things, in a waffle iron.
After all, I am a sucker for crispy bits.
The recipe is from Daniel Shumski, creator of the blog, Waffleizer. Yup, a whole blog dedicated to strange and wonderful things you can cook in a waffle iron.
He’s also the author of “Will It Waffle?” (Workman), a cookbook that came out last year, of which I received a copy. It includes 53 sweet and savory recipes for things you probably never would have imagined to stick in your waffle maker. How about “Sweet-and-Sour Waffled Shrimp Wontons”? Or “Waffled Chicken Fingers”? Or “Spaghetti and Waffled Meatballs”? Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Just be warned, though, that cleaning your waffle iron after cooking some of these recipes will take some doing.
“Waffled Miso-Sesame Tofu with Waffled Sticky Rice” is not included in that book. But you can find the original recipe here on the Serious Eats site.
I only made a couple of minor changes. I cut the firm tofu into six slabs, roughly 3/4-inch thick, rather than the 1-inch as written. I also weighted the tofu down for about 20 minutes to extract more moisture out of the tofu before placing it in the waffle iron. Additionally, I used peanut oil rather than canola or vegetable to amplify the Asian theme. And I sprinkled on black sesame seeds before serving for an extra flourish.
The verdict? Maybe it’s because I have a regular waffle iron and not a Belgian one with deeper crevices, but I found that it took more than twice as long to get the tofu crisp — about 8 minutes total. The tofu isn’t as crusty as if you’d deep-fried it, but it ends up fairly crisp on the outside. The weight of the waffle iron does leave the interior of the tofu denser and chewier, so you do have to like that type of texture.
The rice also took three times longer to crisp than suggested — about 6 minutes total. If you love the tahdig or crispy bottom layer of Persian rice, you’ll enjoy this. The rice gets wonderfully crunchy, almost like that of a rice cracker on the edges.
Shumski recommends chopping up the waffled rice and tofu to serve in bowls. But I left them whole as is, because they’re just so darn cute and crazy looking that way. After going to all the trouble of dragging out your waffle iron, why hide the fact the rice and tofu were cooked in such a novel way, right?
Waffled Miso-Sesame Tofu
(Serves 2 to 4)
1 package (14 ounces) firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon yellow miso paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus more for serving
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups cooked Asian-style short grain rice or Thai sticky rice
Sriracha, for serving
Black sesame seeds, for serving (optional)
Preheat waffle iron to medium.
Lay a lint-free kitchen towel or two layers of paper towels on a rimmed baking sheet. Lay the tofu slices on top in a single layer. Top with another two layers of paper towels. Place another baking sheet on top, and weight it down with large cans for about 20 minutes to extract excess moisture.
In a shallow bowl or deep plate, combine peanut oil, sesame oil, miso paste and soy sauce. Place tofu in soy sauce mixture and turn to coat. Coat both sides of a waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray. Place tofu in waffle iron, close lid, and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 3 to 8 minutes, depending upon your appliance. Repeat until all the tofu is cooked.
Spray both sides of waffle iron with more nonstick cooking spray. Place a generous 1/2 cup of rice in the waffle maker. Close lid and cook until rice is just golden and holds together, about 2 to 6 minutes, depending upon your waffle maker. Repeat with remaining rice.
Place rice and tofu on plates. Sprinkle tofu with black sesame seeds, if you like. Accompany with more soy sauce, sesame oil and Sriracha for drizzling at the table.
Adapted from a recipe by Daniel Shumski