You do not need any
special recipes to use tofu.,
no special cookbooks, no special cookware, no
Take ANY merinade, ANY sauce, just about any
recipe, and you can use tofu in place of the meat,
or cheese, or milk, cream...... options are
endless! And is so much healthier for you!
Just keep in mind what do you want the texture to
Chewy, smooth, crispy? There are different things
to do, which result in different textures, so find
what you like and go from there!
There are basically two
types of tofu, also known as bean curd,
available, silken and regular. You can also
find these types in different consistancies, such
as soft, firm, and extra firm, depending on
how much water is removed before packaging. You
can interchange any of these types of tofu
when cooking, but you will get best results if you
keep the following tips in mind.
is very moist and custard like. It is best used
in blending when you want a very creamy texture,
like drinks or soups, or even scramble tofu
"eggs". It does not hold its shape very well, so
must be handled extremely carefully if you need
to use it for another recipe, where you need
shape. You can find silken tofu on the shelf or
in the refrigerator section of health food
stores, and many standard grocery stores.
is usually found in plastic bags or
containers in water, in the refridgerated
section of health food and grocery stores. If
possible, look for a locally made tofu.
These tofus are usually very firm with almost a
swiss cheese like consistancy. They are perfect
for stir fries, or slicing and frying, etc. They
hold their shape very well and are best for most
You can use tofu straight out of the box
or bag, like in a smoothy, or scramble... stir
fry or anything, but if you want the tofu to
pick up other flavors better, or have a chewier
quality or when recipes say to merinate, try
pressing some of the liquid out of the tofu. The
more liquid removed, the chewier, "meatier" the
results will be. You might prefer one method
over another, or might be in a hurry, so try
different ways to see what the results are.
The traditional way this is done is by removing
the block of tofu from its package and placing
it on a clean, lint free, kitchen towel. Cover
the tofu completely with the towel and set
something slightly heavy on top of the tofu,
such as a couple of plates or heavy pan. Let
this sit for 30 minutes to an hour or so, or
even overnight if in the fridge.
QUICK PRESSED TOFU:
If you don't have time to press the tofu as
such, you can gently squeeze the block by hand,
but if you squeeze it too hard it will crumble.
(Which is fine if you want to use it as
crumbles, like in a scramble)
PRESSED TOFU: Another way to remove
some of the water from the tofu, if you need to
use it right away, is to slice the tofu and
place it around the outside of a slightly
sloping plate. Place it in the microwave for a
minute or two. As it heats the moisture will run
to the center of the plate. Gently towel dry the
pieces before using. This is best to do before
you deep fry tofu anyway. Then the tofu doesn't
spatter as much and won't lower the heat of the
oil as much either, giving you a better end
PRESSED TOFU: Another way to remove a lot of the liquid is by dry frying.Slice
the tofu and placing the pieces directly in to a
dry, non stick, pan on the stove over medium
heat. Press the pieces down with a spatula,
turning them over now and then, until lightly
browned on each side, or desired time. Be sure
you use a non stick pan, like teflon, or if you
have a well seasoned cast iron pan will work
too. Just don't add oil, or it will change the
BAKED TOFU: You can get similar
results by baking sliced tofu on a greased or
foiled baking sheet, 325 degree preheated oven
for about an hour, flipping it a few times while
baking. Most of the liquid will be removed and
is ready to be used in another recipe.
OR for a super easy recipe, take any
sauce, like your favorite bbq sauce, spread some
on the bottom of the baking dish. Place the
sliced tofu on top of the sauce, then add some
more sauce to the top of the tofu and bake, 325,
degrees, about an hour. The longer it stays in
the oven the chewier it will become... Eat as is
or make it into a sandwich or slice pieces into
FROZEN TOFU: Yes you can freeze
tofu! You can stick the whole unopened package
of tofu in the freezer, but for best results,
drain the liquid first, slice into pieces, and
re bag it. (A single layor until frozen is best,
but not necessary.) When you thaw the tofu, more
of the water will drain from it and it will be a
bit more crumblier, but the texture will be
chewier and a little "meatier"
You can also freeze slices that are coated in a
sauce already. A Premarinade of sorts! Just take
it out of the freezer the day before you want
it. Works great for baking or grilling!
PRE FRIED TOFU:
You can actually buy a pre fried / pressed tofu
in many grocery stores already. It is called
Aburaage, usually found next to the
refridgerated tofu. It is a great product to
have on hand, to use in place of meat or regular
tofu, particularly if you don't have time to
press and dry fry your own tofu, especially for
using with merinades, casseroles, stir fries,
drop bits into soups...etc. where you want a
very firm somewhat chewy "meat." Use as is,
usually a small golden steak like triangle, or
slice into bite size pieces.
FRIED TOFU: When you add hot oil,
the tofu will form a slight barrier on the
outside and not absorb as much of the other
flavors. It will also form a crispy crust which
is wonderful for many applications! Crispy and
chewy! It is my favorite way of preparing
The best way to do this, is to cube the tofu
into bite size chunks, or steak like pieces then
press it (see above)
to remove some of the water and heat it up. Heat
your oil, (I prefer peanut oil or canola oil)
until it is almost smoking hot, turn it down
slightly, then place the tofu gently in the oil.
The more oil you have the quicker they fry.
(Deep fry works great!) or just turn the
tofu as each side gets light brown.
You can actually marinate the tofu before you
fry it, if you want it to have more of a
specified flavor profile, but dry it in a towel
before you fry it so it doesn't splatter as
much. Use as is, or with sauces, merinades,
savory or sweet! Dip it in any favorite
COATED and FRIED TOFU: Take any coating,
any dry rub, any seasoning mix, sprinkle it on
the tofu then fry it, just as you would fried
tofu above, or fried chicken. I find it best to
press it (see above)
then add the coatings. Add flour or cornstarch
and it will make a wonderful crispy edge to it.
Go easy with salted seasonings, where as you can
always sprinkle with salt later... You can also
dip the tofu in a little soymilk before you
dredge in the flour.seasoning mix, if the tofu
is too dry. Be gentle when you fry it so to not
dislodge the coatings.
BARBECUED TOFU Tofu is a great
food to grill. Pre press the tofu if you can.
Use any marinade, sauce, even a vinegret, and
pour over the tofu. Let it sit for at least 30
minutes. (Longer if not pressed, if
You actually don't need a merinade or sauce if
you like the smokey bbq grill flavor. You can
always add one later, or dip it into
Cook over a hot fire for about 5 minutes per
side, assuming your slices are around 3/4 "
thick. Make sure the grill is well oiled as tofu
is known to stick...Skewer merinated tofu cubes
along with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms,
tomatoes and grill for a beautiful and fun way
to serve... If the tofu is prepressed or pre
cooked, do not merinate longer than 30
MARINATED TOFU Besides
marinating before you bake or fry the tofu, as
used above, Take a marinade such as Italian
dressing, pour over small cubes of extra firm
tofu, and sit in the fridgerater 30 minutes or
longer, even overnight. Use this in a cold pasta
salad, or in a cold sandwich. Marinate along
with olives, mushrooms, peppers and serve on a
toothpick as an appitizer. Very much like
If the tofu is prepressed or pre cooked, do not
merinate longer than 30 minutes.
YUBA or Tofu / Soymilk Skin is
often considered a delicacy in Chinese and
Japanese cooking. It is the "skin" that forms on
the top of the liquid when boiling soymilk, a
wonderful biproduct in making tofu.
It can be used as a meat substitute, having
crispy, and chewy qualities to it. It can be
used to make a crispy "skin like" coating on
homemade tofurkeys, or other chewy meatless
for more on YUBA.
for FabulousTofu Cooking
COOK WITH TOFU,
It tastes great!
it's good for you!
TOFUs Nutritional information
Tips for using soymilk
- Try to always press some
liquid from tofu before you cook with it.
(Check to the left for different ways to do
- Dry the tofu off in a
soft cloth before you fry it to prevent
it from spattering too much.
- Use a potato masher to
help mash tofu. Or crumble it in your
- Need a silken tofu
when you only have firm tofu? (Like when
making a scramble or smoothy) Add a little plain
soymilk to get the creamyness you want.
- Very Important!!! When
using soymilk in cooking ONLY use soymilk with
just soybeans and water on the label.
- When baking
something else, make it a habit to put some
tofu in the oven too. Coat it with your favorite
sauce, or marinade, or even plain. Tofu lasts
several days in the fridge, and can be ready for
your sandwich, or stirfry, or....