Tofu Tips




TOFU TIPS

You do not need any special recipes to use tofu.,
no special cookbooks, no special cookware, no special skills....
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 be?
Chewy, smooth, crispy? There are different things to do, which result in different textures, so find what you like and go from there!

Types of Tofu

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.

  • SILKEN TOFU 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.
  • REGULAR TOFU 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 uses.

    NOW WHAT?
      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.

  • PRESSED TOFU 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)
  • MICROWAVE 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 result.
  • DRY FRY 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 outcome.

  • 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 something else...

  • 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:
    Store bought ABURA-AGE
    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 basic tofu.
    The best way to do this, is to cube the tofu into bite size chunks, or steak like pieces then
    microwave 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 sauces!

  • 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 microwave 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 possible)
    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 something.
    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 minutes.

  • 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 marinated cheese.
    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 meats.
    Click for more on YUBA.



TOFU TIPS Home

MORE TOFU TIPS
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COOK WITH TOFU, It tastes great!
TOFU RECIPES
EAT TOFU, it's good for you!
TOFUs Nutritional information
TOFUs Mother: SOYMILK
Tips for using soymilk



 

QUICK TOFU TIPs: 

  • Try to always press some liquid from tofu before you cook with it. (Check to the left for different ways to do that.)
  • 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 hands.
  • 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....

 

 

 

 

 







Tofu Tips