I made this tasty dish last night for dinner along with the even more delicious corn pudding in the background (recipe coming up next). It was very good and very well received. When I was typing up the recipe I realized that I skipped the step of oiling it before baking, which would have made it a little better. She suggests using a regular spray bottle with oil (as opposed to cooking spray) but you could probably very lightly brush them as well. She also includes instructions for frying it, but I didn't include them; it's pretty self explanatory if you want to give it a whirl. I actually used coconut milk instead of soy milk just because I had the rest of the can leftover from the corn pudding, but didn't feel like it added much so just use whatever you have on hand. Pressing the tofu is pretty important for this dish. It will make it really firm, giving it an almost chicken-like feel. Give it a try. It's worth it.
Chili and Cornmeal Crusted Tofu
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 cup soy or rice milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Slice the tofu widthwise into eight slices, then cut each of those slices in half diagonally- from the upper left corner to the lower right corner- so that you have sixteen triangles. Set aside.
Combine the soy milk and cornstarch in a wide, shallow bowl. Mix vigorously with a fork until the cornstarch in mostly dissolved. In another shallow bowl, toss together the cornmeal, spices, lime zest, and salt.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip each individual tofu slice in the soy milk mixture. Drop it into the cornmeal with your dry hand and use your other hand to dredge it in the mixture, so that it’s coated on all sides. Place the coated tofu on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray with oil until lightly coated. Flip over and spray the other side. Bake for 12 minutes on each side.
9/16/10 Update: I have made these a few times since posting this and have fried them- it makes a huge difference. Not surprisingly, it makes them way, way better. So if you're not afraid of a little oil, just heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet and fry about 2 or 3 minutes on each side until golden.