Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

Yllsa
Bento-ing from: Binghamton › New York › USA
Joined: 4 Oct 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 26 weeks ago.

Hey everyone,

I've only recently (past month or two) really gotten into cooking for myself. One item I have been experimenting with to some extent is extra-firm tofu.

I've found one really easy way to cook it that I enjoy and love, but I need MORE!

Specifically I like it in bite-size morsels, and as crunchy as I can get it. I prefer not to cook with oils because I have bad skin and the smell always makes me nauseous.

Also, I want to hear why you love tofu! I work/play with mostly tech-type nerds and gamers who are all disgustingly proud of their horrible eating habits, lack of cooking skills, and will choose a Golden Corral steak over expertly prepared tofu just out of spite. I need some more ammo to hurl at them as I stuff their faces with delicious tofu.

I will say though that it is bad to preach to people and argue with them based on their choice of food because we wouldn't want anyone to do that to us! So I will say now that i am a bad person and argue sometimes - but in my defense they are boys and don't know any better!

My recipe:

Drain and slice the tofu.

Stick in small frying pan, add about a 1/4 inch of Newman's Own Sesame Ginger Lite Salad Dressing.

Cook, flipping occasionally, until brown on at least two sides!

The end! It is especially tasty if some of the salad dressing clumps into gooey bits and burns a little bit. Mmmmmmm...

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Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

My solution is to sneak it into things. I have started to use to tofu in baking, simple puddings, "cream" sauces, etc. I just made some protein/breakfast bars yesterday and between the pumpkin and tofu, they were incredibly tender and low fat (a generous portion was only 200 calories), to top it off my vegan hating husband loved them.

Laura
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

I cut tofu into cubes and make tofu with snow peas and onions. I stir-fry the veggies in a bit of oil, add the tofu, and make a quick sauce of soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. I use firm or even silken for this, though I do prefer my tofu "creamy".

I also like hiyayakko: what could be easier than a slab of cold silken tofu with some soy sauce, green onion, and maybe some ginger on top?

I'm looking forward to seeing other recipes: I would love to experiment with some different ideas.

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

Have you considered a grill pan for tofu?

Unfortunately, it won't mean you can eliminate oil from your cooking, but 1/4 inch of the Newman dressing still involves over 4% oils (it isn't that different from a more conventional recipe :- a tablespoon or more of canola oil, soy sauce, vinegar(in lieu of sake), ginger, pineapple concentrate and sugar(in lieu of Mirin), garlic and toasted sesame seeds, and a dribble of sesame oil at the end to season. But the dressing has quite a lot of added salt-sodium content is a shocking 16%!- as well as sugar, so not that healthy)
http://www.newmansown.com/product_detail.aspx?productid=14

My suggestion is that you use a grill pan. That way you only need to coat marinaded tofu with the minimum of oil using a brush before cooking it. You could simmer the marinade (soy sauce, mirin, sake, ginger, garlic and sesame seeds would be nice - you could also get it to caramelise if you want, it's basically a teriyaki type sauce) in another pan and serve it with the tofu. This will let you keep a check on which ingredients you use (soy sauce is already very salty, I'd be wary about adding more salt), and once you've got sake, mirin and soy sauce in your store cupboard, it's also more economical than pouring in a quarter bottle or more of the ready-made dressing.

Also, have you tried tempeh yet? It's much firmer than tofu. Seems like an ideal choice for your tastes.

erisgrrrl
Bento-ing from: Bloomington › Indiana › USA
Joined: 28 May 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

My total fave way to use tofu is to sub it for chicken in Maki's lemon chicken nuggets (http://justbento.com/handbook/recipe-collection-mains/pan-fried-lemon-ch...). I freeze then thaw then refreeze and thaw my tofu first to make it a bit more "meaty" then get as much water out as possible (I rarely let it sit, wrapped and pressed, for 30min like most suggest). Then I cut into cubes, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and lemon juice (or lime juice or marinate overnight in tamarind paste thinned with rice vinegar). I use very little oil, as suggested in Maki's recipe and I think that if you left off the cornstarch you could still get a pretty nice glazey crust if you just let them crust over a bit in a pan sprayed with non-stick spray before you add the final coat of juice and soy. I usually pack these with white rice and broccoli (I like to just throw it in a hot pan and let it "burn" a bit on some spots).

I also like to cut into nuggets, fry with just pan spray then cover with BBQ sauce and let it all caramelize into a gooey, sweet/salty/tangy mess of goodness! :D

Also this recipe makes me salivate every time I think about it. I made some subs when I made it the first time and it was still spectacular! http://veganyumyum.com/index.php?s=tofu+cutlets&searchbutton=Go!

Yllsa
Bento-ing from: Binghamton › New York › USA
Joined: 4 Oct 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

I promised my boyfriend I would never "trick" him into eating tofu :(
hana.yori.dango

Yllsa
Bento-ing from: Binghamton › New York › USA
Joined: 4 Oct 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

So many good ideas here... <3 thank you everyone!
hana.yori.dango

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

Well you can tell your boyfriend. It does make a great cookie and bar base, very tender and moist. And trust me if I can get my husband and parents to eat it with full knowledge of what it is you can probably do the same, especially since it is a lot less intimidating to try a cookie than a cube of "mystery" white stuff.

Pat
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

When I was a kid, I didn't like tofu at all, but now I love it. Here are some easy ways I use tofu:
1) pan-fry bite-size pieces. I use 1 Tb. olive oil for 1 block of 14 oz. firm tofu. It's not greasy at all. Stir-fry with vegetables and oyster sauce.
2) cut into cubes and put in chicken soup and add vegetables (carrots, napa cabbage, mushroom, etc.) and ground meat. I use medium firm or firm for this.
3) cut silken/soft tofu into large cubes. Simmer in dashi stock. Serve with ponzu sauce on the side. To eat this, scoop the tofu cube and a little dashi into a small bowl and drizzle with ponzu sauce to taste.

PS - I used to have bad skin. Check out www.acne.org - it works for me and I started about 5 yrs. ago.
ProActive sucks. Prescribed antibiotics worked for awhile then stopped working. Chemical peel -only good for very short-term result and so expensive. Good luck.

evapple
Bento-ing from: Sydney NSW 2000 › Australia
Joined: 17 Nov 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 47 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

My dad did this one for a Vegetarian. He put the tofu on a rack, sprinkled it liberally with a salt and five spice powder mix and let it sit. The salt drew out some of the moisture of the tofu, and the spice added flavour. He then basically gave it the agedashi tofu fry treatment. and served it with sweet chilli sauce.

I wish i knew how the salt mix went... it his secret recipe that even I his daughter hasn't been given the secret of...

____________________________________

rolling them over, one onigiri at a time.

Yllsa
Bento-ing from: Binghamton › New York › USA
Joined: 4 Oct 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

A trick someone told me about the other day was changing my pillow case every day. I think it's helping!

hana.yori.dango

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

I never had too bad of skin, but since I went vegan my skin has gotten 10 times better. I also started using the oil cleansing method, when I have time, and that also seemed to help quite a bit.

On another note: Over the weekend I severed stir fried broccoli and tofu that I had marinated in garlic and soy sauce to some guests who had never tried tofu that they liked. And that dish was by far their favorite, which they thought tasted like broccoli beef. So I would recommend making that for someone who doesn't think they like tofu.

Yllsa
Bento-ing from: Binghamton › New York › USA
Joined: 4 Oct 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!
Stephanie wrote:

I never had too bad of skin, but since I went vegan my skin has gotten 10 times better. I also started using the oil cleansing method, when I have time, and that also seemed to help quite a bit.

On another note: Over the weekend I severed stir fried broccoli and tofu that I had marinated in garlic and soy sauce to some guests who had never tried tofu that they liked. And that dish was by far their favorite, which they thought tasted like broccoli beef. So I would recommend making that for someone who doesn't think they like tofu.

hana.yori.dango

I think people will generally eat anything if it's got enough garlic in it. I know I will :D

c-helle
Bento-ing from: Birmingham › Alabama › USA
Joined: 30 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 29 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

I confess, one of my favourite ways to eat tofu is as a pakora, which involves plenty of oil, but it's just so darn good!

Another favourite in my home is the tofu smoothie. I whirl some silken tofu, sweetener, frozen fruit and maybe a splash of juice in the Vita-Mix until it's smooth. It's a quick breakfast with a good protein boost.

I'm experimenting now with grilling it on my new George Foreman grill. I tried some for breakfast this morning. No oil at all, and it was pretty good. I'm going to try marinating it with some diluted tahini, soy sauce, garlic, and orange juice tonight before I grill it.

luzzy
Joined: 25 Apr 2010
User offline. Last seen 4 years 1 week ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

I love tofu, so I tried various ways to eat it.

1) Tofu stuffed with minced pork and steamed. Marinate the minced pork with white pepper and soy sauce. If steaming is difficult, try using a microwave. Don't forget to add a little water into the bowl you're using and cover it. It's more like Chinese style, so I'm not sure if a lot of people would love it. But I like this recipe a lot because my mum always made it for me when I was little.

2) Deep fried tofu. Cut tofu into large blocks (probably like 1 inch x 1 inch), and just deep fry it until it's lightly golden. Don't fry for too long because as you leave it to cool it will continue to cook slightly.

3) Deep fried tofu version 2. Coat it with beaten eggs and roll in panko bread crumbs before you deep fry it.

Hope this helps! ^^

____________________________________

Live to eat!

Cassaendra
Joined: 9 Feb 2008
User offline. Last seen 2 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

My favorite ways to prepare (and eat!) tofu are:
- sukiyaki (firm/extra firm)
- mabo tofu (firm/extra firm) w/ House mabo tofu sauce, ground pork, and bell peppers;
- as is (silken), cut in small cubes with shoyu and katsuobushi, served chilled;
- chocolate pie (silken); and
- stirfry with green beans, red peppers, ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, dashi, and shoyu.

Aleria
Bento-ing from: Vancouver › British Columbia › Canada
Joined: 20 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 49 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

At my best friend`s house, they would always make the most delicious vegetarian lasagna by blending soft tofu and using it instead of bechamel sauce.

golden-one
Bento-ing from: Chorley › UK
Joined: 28 Feb 2010
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

well, the two recipe's i most commonly use for tofu:

"Caramelised Tofu".

1 block of tofu.
2 cloves of garlic.
butter / oil
1 tbsp each : sake, mirin, shoyu.
1 tsp dark honey.

take a block of tofu out of the packaging. wrap it in three or 4 layers of kitchen roll, and then put something heavyish on top. Try to get as much water out of in in 15 mins as possible.

Cut the block in half in all three axis. (you want 8 equally sized blocks.

Thinly slice two cloves of garlic.

Put a *little* butter/oil/both in a frying pan. get it hot (but not smoking). fry the garlic, till it starts to go brown and crispy. then tip it out onto a bit of kitchen roll.

The but a whole bunch of butter / oil / both in the frying pan, get it hot, and fry the tofu for 5 mins or so, per side. the edges want to be crispy.. and the tofu firm.

then add the sake/mirin/soy sauce mix, and let it start to caramelize.

to serve, put 4 blocks of tofu on a plate. spoon over some of the thickened sauce. sprinkle with garlic chips. (and a bit of watercress/parsley/ something else green) .

*****

"I cant believe it's tofu"
1 pack tofu.
3 tbsp "nutritional yeast"
1 tbsp each : onion powder, "Italian seasoning" Garlic powder,
1 tsp mustard powder, turmeric.
3 tbsp shoyu.

Open tofu, drain, wrap with kitchen roll, leave for 15 mins or so.
Cut into 1/4" slices. Pour over soy sauce. leave for 15 mins.
Pre heat oven to 180 or so.
Mix all dry ingredients.
Line a baking tray with silicon paper, and lightly spray with oil.

Dip some wet tofu into the dry mix. make sure both sides are coated. place on tray.
repeat for entire block.

bake for 20-25 mins or so, or until it looks like it's about to start to stick to the silicon paper. Then turn it over.
bake for another 15 mins or so, or until you think it's done.

Works well as crisp. works well slightly less done than that. In fact when i do it only about half makes it as far as crisps. the rest gets "tasted". a lot.

golden-one
Bento-ing from: Chorley › UK
Joined: 28 Feb 2010
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu - the Unsung Hero!

ps. you may want to use 3 or 4 tables spoons of sake shoyu and mirin for the Caramelised tofu. it make it a bit more flavorful. And gives you something of a sauce.

I suppose you could even add a little bit of sugar, and chilli. or seven spice. .. that'd make it terriyaki though..

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