Tofu can be prepared in a variety of ways. However, if you don’t know how to cook it correctly, you might end up with a dry crumby bland meal. This guide for beginners share all of the different ways you can cook tofu as well as the best types of tofu to use for various dishes.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is simply soy milk made from mature white beans that have been boiled, curdled, and pressed. There are numerous health benefits, including a high protein content and amino acids. It can also be used in a variety of recipes and is a low-cost plant-protein source. Silken, soft, medium, firm, extra firm and dried are the six main types of tofu. Tofu of various types can be used in a variety of dishes. These variations are determined by how much water is already pressed out of tofu when it is purchased. Fat and protein levels rise as you progress up the firmness scale.
How do you know quality Tofu?
Good tofu has elasticity (bend it to see if it breaks) and is chewier than chalky (chalky Tofus are often made with thinner soymilk and more coagulant); good Tofu should be springy rather than crumbly.
How to press/drain Tofu
Silken, soft, or medium Tofu should not be drained because they are supposed to be waterier, but to drain firm and extra firm Tofu allow it to absorb marinade flavors. You can use a tofu press or simply wrap your entire block of Tofu in a towel, place it in a shallow dish, and place a heavy pot on top to gradually press out the water. The ideal amount of time to press is 20 minutes.
How do I cook Tofu?
SILKEN: BLEND IT
Silken Tofu works best in sauces, smoothies, creamy desserts, salad dressings, and dips. It can also be used as an egg substitute in baking to help bind the ingredients.
SOFT: ADD IT TO A SOUP
Soft Tofu is slightly less smooth than silken Tofu, but it is still a great addition to recipes that call for silken Tofu, such as creamy puddings and dressings. It’s also delicious when cooked in soup, and when add in a pasta dish with broth.
MEDIUM: CRUMBLE IT TO ADD TEXTURE
Medium Tofu is still delicate but good for blending into soups like miso, baking, or enjoying in a stir-fry. Depending on the brand you buy, it may resemble firm Tofu. Medum Tofu is the best variety to make scrambled Tofu.
FIRM TO EXTRA-FIRM: BBQ IT
One of the most common types of tofu is the firm and extra-firm. It can be marinated, crumbled, stir-fried, roasted, baked, grilled. Tofu, like other proteins, will absorb whatever flavor you soak it in, so flavorful marinades are essential for producing a flavorful end product. Furthermore, freezing some types of tofu before marinating can help it absorb marinades more effectively. When marinating Tofu, leave out the oil because it will not absorb well into the Tofu, preventing it from absorbing all of the other delicious flavors. So, unless you’re adding a pinch of sesame oil for flavor, avoid using oil.
When pan-frying or deep-frying tofu, choose extra-firm tofu and press out as much liquid as possible to achieve super crispy Tofu.
When stir-frying tofu, use high heat and plenty of oil in the pan, because Tofu contains so little fat. to Don’t be afraid to add a couple of tablespoons of oil to your pan and brown the tofu on both sides. This will result in super crispy, flavorful Tofu.
To coat Tofu when baking, toss it in 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch and bake at 425 degrees F for 20-30 minutes. This will result in a super crispy exterior.
Dried Tofu is a Tofu that has been flavored, usually with five-spice powder, and compressed until it is very firm and hard. This is delicious on its own or sliced thinly and used in stir-fries.
When possible, choose organic. Soy is a heavily sprayed crop, so purchasing organic Tofu is worthwhile. Hum… I think I’m definitely going to make a Tofu dish tonight!