I know I have discussed tofu a few different time on this blog, but I thought I would occasionally (when I feel like it) share some of the ways that I use tofu. So, for those of you who are new to tofu let's start at the terrifying beginning shall we?
What is tofu?
Well, the answer may make your pulse race in terror---it is bean curd made from fermenting soy milk. You sold yet? Let me reassure you a bit. Tofu is high in complete protein and iron it is often high in calcium as well, but low in calories and fat.
What kind of tofu should I buy?
So, perhaps you made the decision to buy some tofu and you found yourself in the store looking at all the variety, overwhelmed. Tofu comes in silken, firm and extra firm varieties and you can even find pre-flavored and marinated tofu in some stores. Silken tofu is very soft and slimey. Usually people use silken tofu in smoothies and other recipes where it can blend down into nothingness. Firm and Extra Firm tofu are a bit more sturdy and will hold their shape better. I generally recommend that people start with extra firm tofu for cooking and to try silken tofu in a smoothie.
What does tofu taste like?
I tend to say that tofu tastes like nothing. I suppose it has a mild and identifiable soy taste. Usually people tell me their horror story of how they bought tofu, brought it home, open the water filled package and tried a bite....ummmm why? Cordelia is the only person I have ever known who enjoys just eating tofu as is. The great thing about tofu is that is absorbs the flavors around it, so you can make it taste however you like.
So, what do I do with tofu?
Well, usually I start people in at the shallow end. I teach them how to prepare cubed tofu which can be used in a variety of non-threatening ways. Here, why don't I just show you how I do it....
First you will want to remove the tofu from the package and drain away the water. Some people are really serious about pressing out the water, but I am pretty lazy. If I have a finicky looking recipe I might press and drain the tofu (gets all extra water out for maximum flavor absorption) but for today just drain off any water that it was packed in.
So, then you will have a block of tofu looking up at you expectantly. Cordelia kept asking me if she could lick it, the girl is weird about plain tofu.
Put it on your cutting board and slice it (see the photo above) into approximately 1/2 inch slices, then cube it.
Next you will want to grab a large non-stick skillet and add the tofu, a splash of olive oil (like 1-2 tsp.) and a dash of garlic powder (1/4 tsp.). You can add salt or pepper if you like, but I generally keep it simple as this tofu can go in several different recipes.
Turn the heat on medium high and let those cubes cook for about 15 minutes, move them around a bit from time to time, but don't hover and poke. Once the tofu is nicely golden it is done.
Now...what to do with this. Here are a few ways to use cubed tofu.
- Toss it on a salad like croutons. I keep a container of it in my fridge and toss it into salads over the course of several days
- Coat with sweet and sour sauce and serve with rice and steamed veggie
- Toss it into a curry
- Put it into a salad wrap
We had it in a simple salad wrap (tortillas, organic mixed greens, ripe avocado, olives, tomato, tofu, vegan dressing of choice) last night, it is one of our summer favorites.