If you wouldn’t have known any better, tofu seem like dull, limp and tasteless. But if you dig into it further, you will quickly learn the many possibilities of tofu. Today, we will get well acquainted with tofu which with many friends, also could be yours the next time in the kitchen.
For me it took some time before I started to appreciate the tofu. I had a number of bad experiences with even more tasteless dishes. But then someone asked me to look at what could be a good substitute for scrambled eggs. Tofu seemed like a possible answer. It took me some effort to really build something beautiful with this ingredient but it is ultimately successful.
The great thing about tofu
The funny thing about tofu is that it is made from soybeans which has no distinct taste. You can therefore bring a lot of flavor to it to create both savory and sweet dishes with it.
Other advantages are that tofu is cheap, rich in protein but again low in salt and carbohydrates. For the other positive healthy stuff with it of further explanations, I happy forward you to the nutritionists that knows far more than me and also enjoy talking about it. For me it’s only about delicious or not.
The downside with tofu
The disadvantage of the conventional soy-production is that it is not very environmentally friendly in general. The demand is constantly increasing for different soya products devastated much forest land, which in turn threatens the biodiversity.
Fortunately, alternatives for new protein sources are looked for all over the world. A great alternative would be the edible variety of the sweet lupine and soon you also will find a recipe for tofu made with chickpea flour here on the blog.
However, by making demands on the tofu you buy you can make a difference. Make sure you get organic tofu without any GMO!
What is tofu made of?
Tofu is traditionally made from soybeans, water and a vegetable rennet. The way you make it reminds very much about the traditional way of making cheese.
Depending on the quantity of the added water the tofu is firmer or softer. The firm tofu can be eaten cold or hot, but also be fried, baked or boiled. Often you also find the firm tofu ready made in different marinades or with added smoke flavor. I always prefer the natural tofu without any flavoring since I want to play myself with the taste!
The softer tofu can be used as a substitute for milk, cream and egg in desserts and in baking. You can also you eat in as it is, cut in cubes and added to the salad or in your miso soup.
Cooking with tofu
The firm tofu is packaged in moisture and therefore needs to drain before you can work with it. That best way to do it is by using a clean kitchen towel or folded kitchen paper. Simply lay the tofu between the cloth and put some heavy weight on.Leave it like that and it should be ready in about 15 minutes.
If you are in a hurry, just press your hands tight around the tofu and let a towel or paper absorb the moisture.
Naturally you have to consider what you want to do with your tofu. Should it be cut into slices, cubes or rather be made in crumbles? Thinking of adding your firm tofu to a marinade? Keep in mind that the longer you marinate, the more flavor. Over night works perfect! In addition, the thicker the pieces or slices are, the longer it takes before being through and through marinated. To make sure your marinade resonates throughout the piece of tofu, it’s a good idea to pinpoint the tofu with a fork a few times to make sure the marinade access everywhere. The flavor can then penetrate better.
Exclude the oil in the marinade since it just prevents the marinade to penetrate and flavor the tofu. Also, the tofu tends to become more soft when using oil at this state. Instead, brush the tofu with oil just before frying if you want to get a crisper result.
Beautiful flavor carriers for your marinade is tamari, lemon juice and vinegar. Combine them with fresh spices such as finely grated lime or lemon peel, ginger, fresh chilli or garlic. Or why not grounded spices like curry, cinnamon, 5-spices or cumin?
How do I get a delicious crispy tofu?
The trick to get a crispy tofu is to let the tofu drain well and then roll the pieces in corn starch, potato starch or rice flour.
If you’ve used some kind of sugar (like date syrup or coconut sugar) in your marinade chances are high that it will caramelize and give a wonderful flavor during the baking, roasting or frying. Make sure you use enough oil so that nothing can burn while cooking the tofu.
There are numerous options with tofu!
Soon you will find a number of recipes made with different kinds of tofu here on the blog.
Tofu is free from gluten, lactose and sugar (as long as you buy it natural without any marinades etc). Always check the package carefully if you have any allergies!