Sunday, April 7, 2013

One way I cook with tofu

Tofu is like a dirty word to some - mention it in a group, and you'll instantly see noses turn up.  At first, I was clueless about how to prepare tofu and integrate it into our meals.

Fortunately, I have become more tofu savvy and cook with it all the time.  Now I'm on a mission to turn other people into tofu converts.  So here's one way we commonly cook tofu:

I buy the extra firm or super firm tofu variety for most recipes because it has more of a solid texture (it also comes in silken form).  Sometimes, I buy the already cubed tofu, but most brands of tofu come in large blocks that require you to cut it up into smaller pieces.  Because most tofu comes packaged in water, you will want to dry it out a little before cooking for an even firmer texture.  I pull out a couple of hand towels to soak up the moisture. Usually, I cut up the block into smaller pieces and THEN blot the moisture out.

After covering the tofu with the towels, I press down gently and then leave the towels on the tofu for about 5 minutes. Once I'm done waiting, into the pan it goes!

It is totally normal for the tofu to break up a little
 like you see in this picture.  
I add a few tablespoons of oil with my tofu and turn the heat up to medium-high.  I use a wooden spoon to stir until it becomes golden brown.  Then, comes the good part - flavoring!  Because tofu is really absorbent, you can marinate it in anything.

**As a side note, I always found the aversion to going vegetarian curious - almost every recipe with meat calls for outside seasonings or sauces for flavor - why not switch to a healthier alternative like tofu? Ok, sermon over.**

One last tip: if you don't like the soft texture of tofu, cut your tofu pieces smaller.  Big pieces of tofu have the golden brown outside and a lot of the soft-textured tofu inside.  The smaller your pieces are, the more of the crunchiness you'll have from cooking. 

We made an asian salad for this recipe, so I added some soy sauce into the pan.  In addition to the soy sauce flavored tofu, we combined:

1) bagged salad
2) dry roasted peanuts
3) raw water chestnuts
4) won ton strips

And that's it!

Get yourself a BIG bowl of salad (I eat about half the bag)
and enjoy the final product!

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