Cooking Basics

How to cook tofu they will love

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Braised tofu on plate
Tofu can even tempt non-vegetarians in your family
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How to cook tofu so even meat eaters will enjoy it

Tofu has an image problem.  Too many people have taken home one of those white blocks from the grocery store, warmed it up and taken a big taste of....nothing. Because if you don't know how to cook tofu (and most people don't) it does taste like nothing.  Somewhat mushy nothing.

This article is step one in changing that. Here are some pointers about tofu cooking (and buying and storing) and a couple of tasty, flavourful and yes, tofu-based recipes.

Buying the Right Tofu

Let me begin by saying that unless the Armageddon is at hand, skip the septic pack, non-refrigerated tofu.  Tofu is best fresh, and those, well, they're not.

Get the freshest tofu you can find. Most grocery stores have water-packed tofu in their produce department.  Those are okay.  The fresh tofu you can get at Asian and some natural food markets is even better.  

Storing your Tofu

Tofu has a definite shelf life, so keep an eye on the expiration date.  For a longer storage time, and conveniently, a denser, firmer and (some say) a more meat like texture, store your sealed packages or bags of tofu in the freezer.

Expectations of Tofu

Do not try tofu expecting it to taste like meat.  No, unlike all the other mystery foods in the world, it does not "taste like chicken."  It does taste like the spices and herbs and other things it's cooked with.  It is a great source of plant-based protein.  And cooked correctly, it is delicious. J

And Now for the Recipes

The first recipe comes from the Adventures in Kookery blog.  It's fast easy and tasty.

Pan Fried Sesame Tofu

Ingredients:

2 blocks of extra firm tofu (2 packages)
1/2 cup honey
4 or 5 tablespoons Tamari (or soy sauce)
3 tablespoons. finely chopped ginger
3-4 tablespoons. toasted sesame oil
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
A few good dashes of hot pepper sauce
Cornstarch
1 bunch green onions
Toasted sesame seeds
Rice for serving

Directions:

  • Wrap the blocks of extra-firm tofu in paper towels, place on cutting boards, weigh it down with another cutting board or baking sheet and a heavy pot to squeeze out liquid.
  • Set aside for about 20-30 mins.
  • In the meantime, put the honey, and tamari into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Cover and keep warm.
  • Cut pressed tofu into cubes.
  • Dust well with cornstarch.
  • Heat enough oil to fry these tofu squares well- until golden brown. T
  • rim and cut green onions and cut into 1" pieces.
  • Throw onion pieces into pan until they soften slightly.
  • Transfer cooked tofu and green onions into bowl and toss with the warm sauce.
  • Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  • Goes great on a bed of basmati, jasmine, or brown rice.



Tofu Vindaoo

This recipe brings together the ethnic flavors of India, fresh vegetables and healthy tofu in a simple to prepare supper dish.  Serve it on a large platter over basmati rice, and pass chutney and yogurt for people to add as the choose.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
2 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and
minced
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons Vindaloo curry powder
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans
(chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch
cubes
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
salt to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Stir in the ginger, and cook until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the onions, cauliflower, and carrots.
  • Cook and stir until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the vindaloo powder and tomato paste until no lumps of tomato paste remain.
  • in the coconut milk, vegetable broth, and garbanzo beans.
  • Gently fold in the tofu and mushrooms, and season to taste with salt.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally as the vindaloo cooks.
  • Serve hot, over hot rice

And From Here

If you want to know more about how to cook tofu well, check out some the natural foods cookbooks in your local bookstore or online. There are thousands of ways to make this healthy protein a part of your dinner table.

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