Tofu!

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 1 week ago.

Hi people!! :)
the doctor told my husband the other day to stop eating so much fat and greasy meat so I started buying tofu and soy based products.
But I have to dwell with the fact that my husband does not like tofu (except when having miso) so I need easy and tasty recipes to "catch" him.

Something like deep fried tofu seems a good way to start but I have no idea how to do it :(
Is it ok to use olive oil? Can it be eaten raw on salads? Argghhh!
I saw maki's bacon+tofu recipe but i guess it's of no use for us since bacon is greasy meat :(
Aww

Please help! >_<
Thanks :D

____________________________________

My bento blog: http://justbento.com/blog/1305
My art blog: http://jizaacaso.deviantart.com

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 17 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu!

I'm not sure that deep-fried tofu is the way to go if the Doctor has suggested he cut down on meat and grease!

I rarely use anything other than olive oil. My suggestion is Maki's tuna/tofu/miso burgers which he's almost certain to enjoy:
http://justbento.com/handbook/recipe-collection-mains/tuna-tofu-miso-min...
They can be fried in olive oil or even grilled if you wanted to.

Despite the fact that I don't eat 'land' meat myself, I'm not a huge tofu eater. My suggestion for getting him to cut down is by using 'big' flavours.
Here's an easy to make and very, very tasty Vietnamese inspired dish that's perfect for the summer weather:
A portion of rice noodles (I like the wider tagliatelli type - these take about 5 minutes to cook, then you need to rinse them with cold water)
half a small raw green or white cabbage chopped finely
julienned cucumber (I put these in a colander with salt for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly, but you don't need to do this)
shredded or grated raw carrot
chopped or torn fresh mint leaves (hierbabuena)
(chopped coriander/cilantro is optional. I, along with every Spaniard I know, don't like it and don't use it.)
Protein of your choice - bits of surimi (i.e. crab sticks) or cooked prawns or cooked chicken - if you lightly fried some well drained tofu you could use strips of this in addition to or instead of the other suggestions.
Dressing (for two servings) -
Combine together:
Juice of one lime
Similar quantity of fish sauce (Thai or Vietnamese)
1 generous spoon of sugar or honey
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
1 finely chopped chili pepper (mild or hot, seeds removed or included to make it as hot or mild as you wish)
some cold water - but make sure not to water down the dressing too much, particularly as there will be liquid from the noodles and the cucumber/cabbage

Toss all the ingredients together and serve immediately. (If making this for a Bento I'd suggest mixing all the ingredients EXCEPT the dressing together so that the rice noodles don't clump together and then only combining with the dressing just before eating - the dressing will need its own container)

Notes on preparing fried tofu strips (this is how I do it, there are other methods - here's an excellent page on draining tofu from Maki - http://justbento.com/handbook/bento-basics/quick-tip-using-tofu-bento-fr...)
You should be able to find firm cotton tofu in packets. Drain the packet and slide out the tofu. If you have a clean kitchen towel carefully wrap it in this or use some sturdy kitchen paper. You can put the wrapped block of tofu into a colander or on a wooden board propped up at an angle over the sink or a draining surface. Put a plate over the tofu and balance a weight on top of this. Leave it for at least an hour (2 hours would be better).
This will remove excess water from the tofu and it won't spit or splutter so much when frying it.

Take the weight off the drained tofu and carefully unwrap it - put the block of tofu on a chopping board and carefully slice it into reasonably thin layers. Cut these layers into strips.
In the meantime, heat some oil in a pan (in this case you might want to try a more neutral tasting oil than olive oil - I'd suggest Canola/rapeseed oil - colza). For added taste you might like to fry garlic pieces and/or chillies (which are then removed before they burn) as this will leave their taste in the oil and then be absorbed by the tofu. Fry the tofu pieces on both sides until they are golden and remove from the heat to drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
They are now ready to add to the dish of your choice.

You might also like to try these tofu pieces in Gado Gado - this is a delicious and hearty Indonesian salad that can include eggs and potatoes and fried onion as well as a delicious peanut sauce. And of course, there's the Thai dish Pad Thai which can be a fabulous way to eat tofu.
Or try adding these pieces of tofu to Vietnamese summer rolls (Goi Cuon) and then dipping them into a peanut/hoisin sauce - glorious!

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu!

My husband seems to have similar tastes :) I find a variety of uses for tofu, some are more successful with the hubs than others. I have found that he really likes crispy baked tofu, spicy baked tofu, tofu in soups, and in stir fry. He was also quite fond of maki's vegan iri dofu.

For salads you can try making a imitation feta cheese, which is just crumbled tofu marinated in a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs of your choice.

Another protein option (other than meat) would be beans, which I have numerous recipes for and seems to be more husband friendly than plain tofu.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 36 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu!

I second Loretta's comment about deep-frying not being the way to cut down on fatty food. Why don't you try feeding your husband lean meat if meat is what he likes? There are plenty of cuts of lean meat out there, mostly expensive, I'll grant, but you can cut the fat away from cheap meat and make stews and casseroles.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 17 weeks ago.
Re: Quorn!

Another option (because every meal I make in which my husband doesn't feel the need to supplement it with a trip to the kebab shop is a victory) is British Quorn.
It comes at a hefty premium for those in Spain, but it is available
http://www.thefoodhall.es/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=quorn&osCs...

Maki's advice about treating tofu as if it were raw fish is something I'd strongly advise you to take to heart
http://justbento.com/handbook/bento-basics/quick-tip-using-tofu-bento-fr... (TOFU SAFETY)
Freshly made tofu is very easy to get hold of in Japan, it's more tricky in London, and I have no idea how one would go about buying guaranteed fresh tofu in Madrid.

Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, Jiza!
Yesterday evening I sent out my spouse to collect a few ingredients and made some Vietnamese inspired summer rolls with prawns and quorn (unfortunately, uncooked tofu isn't like cheese where you can just cut off a portion, there's an all or nothing element to it, with Quorn you can just take out a few pieces from the freezer - perfect if you only want to use a little)
I made up a tiny portion of rice vermicelli by soaking the noodles in boiled water for a minute and rinsing and draining them.
salted and rinsed some julienned cucumber, shredded some carrot and shredded some scallions/green onions (although chives might be better)
washed and dried some lettuce leaves and mint leaves and grilled a couple of Quorn fillets (which I'd marinaded in ponzu and garlic) - you could use fried tofu or grilled chicken although the traditional way is with thinly sliced pork. I had some fresh basil to hand and used a little of this too.
A few lemon and garlic prawns.
For the dipping sauce I used:
4 large spoons of hoisin sauce and 2 spoons of hot water to thin it down
2 large spoons of (crunchy) peanut butter
1 spoon of chilli sauce (I used a vegetarian sambal)
a dash of vinegar
1 finely chopped large garlic clove (you can add fried garlic if you prefer)
Stir together and taste - you may like a little sugar or honey

To make up the rolls I just dipped a round rice wrapper in tepid water until it softened and spread it on a plate with two sides of the circle folded just a little bit towards the centre (so straightening up the sides). Then I added a lettuce leaf across the wrapper (if you can't get the soft pliable kind just shred it), on top of this I placed some of the noodles, the scallion, carrot and cucumber. Mint leaves and a touch of shredded basil. I laid the quorn in long thin slices along the length of the roll and laid out the prawns a little further on from the rest of the ingredients. The loaded wrapper was then wrapped up as tight as I dared to make it look like a fat cigar.
Once a few of these were made we just dipped them into the peanut/hoisin sauce and gorged ourselves.

I did make a couple without any prawns in them (and added a little bit more mint and basil to compensate) I have to admit we hardly noticed the difference. I have no doubt that these would be absolutely lovely with fried tofu strips inside - they're certainly delicious with quorn.
Next time I make these I'll try substituting the quorn/tofu for grilled strips of marinaded tempeh.

You might like to experiment with tempeh - it has a 'meatier' texture than tofu and is nice and easy to grill if you are trying to avoid fats in your diet.

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 35 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu!

Tofu is virtually tasteful, and yet takes on other flavors very well. Try cutting it into tiny cubes and sprinkling it on salad. It will absorb the flavors of the salad dressing. Covered with a bracing curry -- yummm. Cut up a slab of it, saute and add to fried rice in place of eggs. I also crumble it up and incorporate it into meat loaf, spaghetti and chili.

Edamame, soybeans, can be a tasty addition to your diet. There is the basic boiled and salted dish served in bars -- very tasty. But you could also lightly blanch, cool and sprinkle on salads. Cooked a little more, then mashed with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil, you have a nice spread for bruschetta.

Once you step out of the mindset that tofu and other soy products are only for Asian cooking or health nuts, you will find more delicious ways of using it.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 1 week ago.
Re: Tofu!

Hi again people!
Even though I didn't say anything I've been reading all your nice comments :D

I've tried the tuna-tofu burguers but he didn't like them. I also tried less greasy meat products and he did like them (. We have been eating and cooking healthier the past few months, with my mum's help because she prepares some food for us and bring it to our home (i love her so much! <3 ). He seems to feel better and the doctor actually told him he should stick to this healthy food.

This is just an education problem. My hub's family is from the north of Spain, where the normal thing is to eat as much as you can, no matter what. That's why when I get there all our friends (female ones) are always telling me how nice I look and which diet I do-i wheigh 50-53 kg more or less. I don't want to be rude to them so i just tell them i eat very little (which is not true), but what I think is: "stop eating 3 times your normal intake and you'll get much better, silly!". That's the normal thing there and every year i feel more and more disappointed about it.

I've been educated in a home in which neither my dad nor my grandma can eat salty or excessively greasy food so when I get to the north people look down at me because I do not finish all my food, even though i try to. But I just can't. This is a particular problem with my mother-in-law, who is such a nice woman (and she really is) but is an absolute terrorist in the kitchen.

Now we are spending 3 weeks there in August and I'm so f*cking scared about my line and my husband's health!! >_<
I've been taking care of my diet for the whole past year and she'll spoil it all in a week or so :_(

aw... I'm sorry, this is kind of an off-topic but I'm really worried about this and I don't know what to do! U_Ù

btw, loretta I loved your recipes and my mum did too! ;)

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 17 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu!

Thank you Jiza (and to your mama!) for the nice compliment. It's a shame he didn't like the tuna/tofu burgers though.

Jiza wrote:

My hub's family is from the north of Spain, where the normal thing is to eat as much as you can, no matter what.

Can I ask which part of Northern Spain you're referring to? 'North' to me is Galician food (North West), Basque food (North Centre) and Catalan food (North East).
I'm really curious now.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu!

I know it may not seem very pleasant to do but you could tell your mother-in-law about your dietary needs and offer to help cook (since your husband is having some health issues).

There is a portion of my family that habitually overeats, and horribly fatty food (think Paula Dean type cooking, my Grandma even goes so far as to put butter in deviled eggs). So I make it clear that I am a vegetarian and I avoid dairy, they understand fairly well and they generally would prefer to have me leave without a tummy ache. So all that usually leaves for me to eat is some vegetables (ones without bacon or animal additives) and a roll, which is usually pretty light on the waistline.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 1 week ago.
Re: Tofu!
Loretta wrote:

Can I ask which part of Northern Spain you're referring to? 'North' to me is Galician food (North West), Basque food (North Centre) and Catalan food (North East).
I'm really curious now.

They're from Asturias, near Galicia (i feel silly for explaining where it is when you already know it, lol!! *n_n*). To be honest my mother-in-law is from Galicia but the rest of the family is from Asturias.
People who has been in the northern part of Spain would have probably noticed how much people eat up there!

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 1 week ago.
Re: Tofu!
Stephanie wrote:

I know it may not seem very pleasant to do but you could tell your mother-in-law about your dietary needs and offer to help cook (since your husband is having some health issues).

There is a portion of my family that habitually overeats, and horribly fatty food (think Paula Dean type cooking, my Grandma even goes so far as to put butter in deviled eggs). So I make it clear that I am a vegetarian and I avoid dairy, they understand fairly well and they generally would prefer to have me leave without a tummy ache. So all that usually leaves for me to eat is some vegetables (ones without bacon or animal additives) and a roll, which is usually pretty light on the waistline.

I usually offer to cook and everything but she is the typicall woman from the north so she wants to cook herself ._. But yeah she is the kind of cook that adds butter to everything... But she always buys lots of fruit and veggies, the problem is the amount of food.
I don't mind eating tones of green beans or pasta but i have been a pescetarian for years and even though i came back to normal diet (i travel a lot due to my job and i'm not always able to find food that suits my needs) i still find hard to eat meat everyday. Even more if i have to eat a steak for lunch AND for dinner. With fries.
I know they do it just to be nice to me, because for them a lot of food is the best way to be nice to someone and i feel so bad when i must tell them that their food makes me sick! >_<

Anyway when i come back i usually spend a detox month eating only vegs and carbs.

The time i spend up there would be perfect if it wasn't for the food problem o_ò

I'm sorry for the off-topic, really! >_<

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 17 weeks ago.
Beans
Stephanie wrote:

Another protein option (other than meat) would be beans, which I have numerous recipes for and seems to be more husband friendly than plain tofu.

If Jiza's mother-in-law is from Asturias I doubt there are any shortage of bean recipes on hand!

Beans are as closely associated with this region as rice is with mine. The signature dish 'Fabada Asturiana' is similar to French cassoulet and is famous throughout Spain. I can really sympathise with Jiza though, it is made of haricot beans and an assortment of pork meat products, lard and oil. Even the region's most famous vegetable dish (Menestra de verduras) is laced with ham and garnished with boiled eggs.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: Beans

It is interesting how cooking changes over time, I remember my grandma cooking with bacon fat, lard, and Crisco when I was growing up. And lard is quite common in Mexican cooking. So I know that the "traditional" can be quite delicious, but it can easily adapted to fit modern tastes and sensibilities.

Risa
Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 7 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 15 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu!

Hi!

I just joined this site today, and am happy to find people interested in Japanese food! I see that this topic started with tofu but digressed towards healthy eating habits, etc. I'm Japanese, but am an expat like Maki, living in Chicago, home of deep dish pizza and pork chops. I had a bit of a weight problem myself until I switched to a mostly Japanese diet.

To help others learn about Japanese culture, cuisine and healthy eating, I started a website called Savory Japan a few months ago. Here's an article on how the Japanese stay slim:

http://www.savoryjapan.com/learn/slim.html

Hope you find it useful, and good luck!

www.savoryjapan.com
Japanese Cuisine, Travel and Culture

Lorena
Bento-ing from: San Diego › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 45 weeks ago.
Re: Tofu!

Ah, I'm Filipino-American and Mexican-American, so I know what you mean by too much food! It seems to be a characteristic of Spanish-origin cultures. But, I've learned how to deal with it with my family, especially since I became a vegetarian in high school (the Mexican side of my family hails from a long line of butchers, while my Filipino grandparents grew up on farms).

As far as eating with my family goes, I try to fill at least half my plate with the healthier foods available. So, I'll eat a lot of the salad or vegetables available, and only a little rice and beans (if they're not made with hamhock, of course!) with a corn tortilla or two. While I also eat slowly, I also talk a lot -- that's what most Hispanic/Latino families seem to do the most at the table (besides eat). It keeps the attention off my plate and I don't get picked on as much.

As far as other meals go, I try to eat as lightly at breakfast as possible. Unfortunately, I don't always have that option, especially if my grandparents are making something special. I try to pass off on it if I can. Otherwise, I'd suggest going out for extended walks if you can, just to work off the extra calories. It's also nice to get some quiet time to yourself, especially since my family is big and loud! :)

For your tofu question, this is actually the second time I've talked to someone about it today! I like to eat scrambled tofu in place of eggs for breakfast. The recipe I linked to can be made without nutritional yeast -- just don't add the extra water. It's also great marinated and baked; I've made a lemon-rosemary marinade and used the baked slices in sandwiches and added cubes to my salad. I suppose you could also press it to remove extra moisture and then make a vegetarian version of Maki's soboro. I did this with dehydrated vegetable protein made from soy and it worked out really well. I've had it both in a two-color soboro (with spinach) and with bean-thread noodles and stir-fry veggies. Both times were delicious!

Good luck with healthier eating!

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 1 week ago.
Re: Tofu!

hey good point on the scrambled tofu! :D
Unfortunately I am in Asturias already so finding tofu here is almost imposible (or extremely expensive) :( But I'll try when I'm back home :D

I am happy to announce that my whole family-in-law is on a diet! Sooooo I'm eating somewhat healthy food almost everyday, yay!!!
I said "somewhat healthy" because it is still greasy and salty for me, but it works on them, lol. So I'm just having a great time :D I just control the intake a little bit ^^

Also, my hubs is always telling his mum to cook healthy this month, and she is taking it seriously!! it seems that the doctor's advice had an important wheigh in all of this :D :D

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

New forum activity since your last visit

Titlesort iconAuthorAnswersLast Post
Sesame salad dressing Supertaster91 year 11 weeks ago
Authentic paella? maki101 year 13 weeks ago
IMPORTANT: If you have a blog on JustBento... maki21 year 15 weeks ago
Shiso - uses for this herb Loretta01 year 17 weeks ago
Fuki (Japanese Butterbur) Tsukemono Recipes kumo51 year 17 weeks ago