What is Tofu?
Tofu is a food made from soybeans, water and a coagulant and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. Tofu, also known as soya curd, is a component in Southeast Asian and East Asian cuisines, and has recently become popular in Western vegetarian cooking. Tofu has a subtle flavor, but can easily absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients. It is often seasoned to suit the dish, generally savory and sweet dishes.
There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Fresh tofu is usually packaged in water and should kept in water until used. If the water is changed daily, the tofu can last for one week. Tofu can be frozen for up to three months. Freezing will change its texture but, it will make the tofu slightly chewier. Tofu is an excellent source of calcium, iron, amino acids, and other micro-nutrients. Tofu has a low calorie count but relatively large amounts of protein. It is a versatile ingredient with many health benefits.
How to Cook Tofu?
There are several things that you should do to make your tofu taste spectacular.
1. Press out the old water.
Tofu is like a sponge, so if you don’t press out the old water you can’t get any new flavors in. This is really easy to do, and here’s the breakdown.
Cut the tofu into several thin slices
Lay a dish towel on a tray and then spread the tofu on top of that, and put another dish towel on it.
Set some heavy objects on top.
Leave it alone for a couple of hours. You can leave it like this all day or night if you put it in the fridge.
2. Do not forget to marinate it.
If you don’t marinate it, tofu will taste like nothing. However, avoid using oil in your marinade, or you will create a layer of oil on the tofu and make the flavors will never be absorbed into it.
3. Try to use cornstarch to make it crispy.
Once you’ve marinated it, the next step is coating it with cornstarch. This will give your tofu a crispy layer, and helping it not stick to the pan.
Several Easy Tofu Recipes
Crispy Baked Tofu
- 1 pound firm tofu, drained and water pressed out
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Olive oil
Cut the tofu into 1/4″ thick slices and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, and breadcrumbs, mix well.
Take each tofu slice and brush the edges and both sides with olive oil, and place it in the breadcrumbs until coat well.
Bake them for about 20 minutes until light golden brown. Serve with your dipping sauce of choice – ranch dressing, bbq sauce or ketchup.
Tofu Stir Fry
- 1 block firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
- 3 cups of broccoli
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup Chinese rice wine
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
Heating a wok over medium heat. Add 2 to 3 tablespoon oil and when hot add the tofu. Fry the tofu, and turning it every minute until light golden brown.
While the tofu is cooking, it is the time to make the sauce. First, dissolve the cornstarch in the broth. Add the sesame oil, sugar, chili garlic sauce, rice wine, ketchup, and soy sauce. Stir well. Set aside until needed.
Once your tofu is browned, then add the broccoli and stir-fry about 2 minutes. Remove everything to a bowl.
Turn up the heat. Add another garlic and tablespoon of oil into a wok. . Fry for just a few seconds and add the sauce mix. Heat until it thickens. Add the broccoli and tofu back in and stir to coat. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with steamed rice.
Ma Po Tofu
- 12-ounce silken tofu, drained and cut into cubes
- ½ cup red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 fresh Serrano chili pepper, sliced
- 14 ounce low sodium vegetable broth
- ½ cup carrots, shredded
- 4 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup green beans, chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly chopped
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- 1 teaspoon black bean sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
Mix the tapioca starch, black bean sauces, chili garlic, about 1/3 cup of broth, and soy sauce. Set aside.
Heat the wok, add a tablespoon of oil into it. Once the oil is hot, add a teaspoon of garlic. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, stir-fry the vegetables (shiitake mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, and green beans), and then season with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Cook for about a few minutes and transfer to a plate.
In the same wok, add a teaspoon oil, the slices of Serrano chili and remaining broth. Bring to a boil. Then add the tapioca liquid to the boiling broth. Continuously stir until it thickens.
Pour the cubed tofu and vegetables into the wok. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the sliced green onions and stir gently.
Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and black pepper. Drizzle with sesame oil. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with steamed rice.