2 Dec

Here in Puerto Rico is very typical to celebrate Xmas with pork… or as we say in Spanish, Lechón.  People trying to be more health conscious have then tried to take the flavors used in making a lechón but with turkey, calling it Pavo-chón – pavo from the Spanish for turkey and chón… well, you get the drift.

But being vegetarian, I’ve lived without lechón or pavo for about 10 years of my life now.  But I have not been vegetarian all my life, so even though I do not miss eating the actual meat, I do still get allured by the smells of the seasonings and what I remember they taste like.  I am sure I am not the only one that feels that way… there’s no need to be ashamed of it.

So if people found a way to season turkey to make it taste like lechón, why can’t we do the same with TOFU??


I say what the heck!! Let’s give it a try… and the thing worked.  So now you can have your tastes of the past, but with a greater consciousness that you will not be damaging the lives of other living creatures in the process.  Isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas and the Holidays??



1 block of extra-firm tofu, drained
About ¼ cup of adobo – or you can make your own blend, like I show you here
1 cup of Water or vegetable broth
The juice of 1 lemon
Canola oil Spray
  1. After draining the tofu block, cut it into ½” thick slices.  Place them on top of a sheet pan with about 3-4 layers of paper towels.  Cover the tofu slices with 3-4 additional layers of paper towels and place another sheet pan on top.  Weigh the tofu slices down with a few heavy books for about 1 hour.
  2. After the hour has elapsed, I usually take the top layer of paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from it.  Take the sheet pan that used to be on top and now make this your bottom sheet pan, place the squeezed paper towel your bottom layer of paper towel, transfer the tofu slices into this new bottom, squeeze as much water as possible from the former bottom layer of paper towels, place now on top of the tofu, place the former bottom sheet pan on top of the paper towels and weigh again with heavy books for about an extra 30 minutes or so.  I like to really press the tofu dry…
  3. In a medium skillet sprayed with canola oil spray over medium heat, we’ll bring some color to the tofu slices. We do not want to sear them fully, but doing this will help the marinating liquid penetrate even more…    
  4. While we’re heating the tofu slices, we prepare the marinade… mix together in a bowl you can cover well the water, the juice of the lemon and the adobo mixture.   Place the tofu slices that have been heated a bit and gotten some color on the skillet in de bowl with the marinade.  Cover the bowl and let the tofu marinate for about 4-6 hours.  Do not do this overnight because they might get too salty… 
  5. After the marinating time has elapsed, take the skillet again, spray again with canola oil and place over medium high heat.  Pat dry the tofu slices and place on skillet.  Sear until you get a nice brown color on the tofu.


You can serve this over rice… a nice rice with corn (arroz con maiz) or even a rice with pigeon peas (arroz con gandules) would be good local typical combinations.  This time around, I actually had it with a goat cheese couscous with walnuts, which is certainly not the traditional accompaniment.  I also used these inside a Tortilla Casserole I will be sharing with you soon enough…


5 Responses to “Tofu-chón”

  1. lucy December 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    My boyfriend is vegetarian and has been for the last four years. This is a great alternative for him. I have bought the soy dinner roast from Loma Linda and will try the ingredients to season the soy roast. I made a completely vegetarian Thanksgiving meal for him two years in a row. The first two years I made lasagna because I did not know what else to make. I put together a menu of brussel sprouts, asparagus, baked potatoes, and candied yams. We have gone to Ponce to El Eden and tasted their pasteles de soya which are delicious. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Vane December 14, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    Lo tratare para el vegetariano que viene del office Xmas party a casa! It seems simple enough!

    • karmafreecooking December 14, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

      Hazle unos Mock Bacalaítos también… y como es para invitados, pícate el tofú un poco más anchitos para que los “steaks” no se vean tan raquíticos en el plato.

  3. Givonne December 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Me encantan tus ideas!!! En verdad no es fácil ser veggie en PR y menos en esta época!!! Hace 3 an~os decidí ser vegetariana y le hice el reto a mi madre de que me cocinara comidas vegetarianas tan ricas como las que siempre cocina. And she has really stepped up to the plate!! Voy a ver si te comparto una que otra desus ‘creaciones’!!! In the meantime, keep yours coming!!!

    • KarmaFree Cooking December 8, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

      Yes Givonne!!!!! Please, share some of your mom’s vegetarian creations. I would love to try them myself…

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