Top tips for tofu
Don't shy away from cooking tofu, it's a fantastic ingredient and surprisingly very easy to prepare! Here's how...
I heart Tofu. There is always at least one block in my fridge. It’s completely versatile, as it doesn’t really taste of much until you add your flavours and it’s packed with beneficial and essential nutrients. I love serving it to my friends and family and I’m always intrigued to know what ‘meat eaters’ think of it, and I have to say it tends to go down a treat!
Yet when I suggest to people in conversation that they pick up a block and give it a go, it is so regularly met with a screwed-up-cringe-face and comments such as ‘well, what even is it?’ and ‘isn’t it tasteless and a weird texture?’. The answer is no, don’t avoid tofu, it’s the best!
Here’s some ideas if you’re unsure of what to do with tofu or seeking some inspiration. My suggestion is to start with the firm tofu that you can buy in the veggie section of the fridge at most supermarkets - my fave is cauldron foods as it’s pressed really well & it’s organic. You can improvise and give silken a try, but for the purpose of the following, firm is best...
How to Prepare Tofu
Pressing your Tofu will allow you to really crisp it up, if that’s what you’re going for. Quite honestly, I’m too lazy and don’t tend to bother because I quite like it a bit softer, but If you would like to give tofu pressing a try, this is how I do it. Wrap your block of tofu in a clean tea towel and place something slightly weighty (such as a thick chopping board or flat based pan) on top of it for 30 minutes before cooking, in order to draw out excess moisture.
A Staple Ingredient in Asian Cooking
Tofu is a staple ingredient in a large array of Asian dishes, it works really well in stir frys, chinese soups and dishes such as pad thai. I tend to cut it in either cubes or little triangles and whack it in a hot frying pan (oil is very much optional depending if you avoid it as part of your diet, if you have a good non-stick pan, there’s no need as long as you keep it moving). Once it’s browned off a little and sealed so it’s moving freely around the pan, you can add your flavours! For a Satay Tofu; add peanut butter, sweet chilli sauce & soy sauce. Or for something super clean, stick with Tamari and some chinese 5 spice.
Vegan "Fish" and Chips
Tof’ and Chips is a go-to dinner when we have a family get together. I cut it in thick ‘steaks’ about 1.5cm wide and seal off as above, then add either simple salt and pepper, lemon and salt, or a bbq glaze (made of sweet chilli, liquid smoke and tomato puree). You can wrap your tofu in Nori before frying if you’re after a fishy taste
A Great Egg Substitute
Crumble it up, add some salt (optional), Turmeric for colour (and insane health benefits!) and Pepper and dry fry it slightly in a good non-stick pan. Make sure you keep it moving so it doesn’t stick. Serve on toast for scrambled Tofu or, let it cool and mix in some vegan-mayo or a touch of unsweetened soya yogurt with some cress and pop it in a sarnie. Yummy, nutritious and cruelty free.
Sweet Treats with Tofu
It’s not just for savoury dishes either, you can use tofu for sweet dishes too. There are lots of recipes for vegan ‘cheesecakes’ online using tofu instead of mascarpone. For a simpler dessert, you can whizz up a chocolate mousse in a jiff by popping 1 block of firm tofu, a generous handful of pitted dates ⅓ cup of cocoa or raw cacao powder and a sweet syrup such as agave (as much as you wish to taste) into a high power blender (such as a Nutribullet or Vitamix). Then just pop it into serving dishes, leave it in the fridge to stiffen a little and enjoy!
What’s your favourite tofu recipe? Get in touch via our facebook page and post a picture of your tofu creations, or tag us on Instagram - we would love to hear from you!