Hi, My name is Tofu – Please don’t hate me.
Tofu is basically curdled soybean milk. It is made the same way as we make cheese, separating the curds from the milk and then pressing them into a block. It is high in both protein and calcium, therefore as a vegetarian, it provides a handy ingredient for me.It is relatively mainstream now, and I can pick it up in my local veggie shop, but it is interesting that most of my cooking books go from toffee to tomato. Three of my Vegetarian books barely pay homage to this versatile little block of white. The word TOFU actually makes some people shiver involuntarily and it is passed over by chefs in favor of goats cheese 9 times out of 10.
freeze your tofu first, it will transform your cooking.
The problem with tofu for me, was always it’s soft, silken texture. Personally, I do not like how it eats this way. It does not really add much to the stir-fry of vegetables which normally sits beneath it.
I would sigh and add it to Delia’s Japanese-style salad and consider it my lot as a veggie, until I was told to freeze it first. Seriously, this transformed my tofu thinking and now I LOVE TOFU.
Open the packet, empty out the liquid, put in an airtight container and freeze for at least two days. When ready to use, defrost naturally, squeeze out the liquid, it is quite robust so do not worry about damaging it. The picture above shows some tofu that I have just bought, on the right of the screen and some that I have just defrosted and squeezed.
Still bland but the texture has changed completely and when put into a marinade or cooked with a sauce it soaks the flavor up. Yummy. I fry this in a neutral oil and toss in grated Parmesan and…..whatever else I fancy, spicy, herby anything goes. Great to add to a salad.
So with your made over tofu, you can make awesome veggie food. I will post some more later. The easiest is a stir-fry, inspired by that original Japanese style salad.
- Defrost 1 packet of tofu (it does not matter what type, silken, hard or soft)
- Squeeze out the moisture and cut into cubes.
- Heat a non stick frying pan and coat with 2 tbsp of neutral oil.
- Cook to cubes on high for about 3 to 5 mins each side.
Now here is the trick. Place the cubes down evenly and do not touch them, or the bottom will stick to the pan. Be patient and after about 5 mins see if you can gently move with a spatula. I find they loosen if you take the pan of the heat. Turn them over and do not add more oil, just gently press them a little with the spatula and the oil will release.
While they are cooking make a marinade.
- Mix together 4 tbsp of liquid honey and 4tbsp of warm water.
- Add anything from 1tsp to 1 tbsp of grated ginger (jar is fine) 1tsp or less garlic and a squeeze of lime all to your own taste.
- pour the marinade over the cooked tofu, making sure it is covered and simmer for a couple of mins. DONE. Three portions of tasty tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving and eat hot or cold. This keeps well for about a week in the fridge, and can be added to any stir fried vegetable or salad.
52 Brilliant Ways to Spice up Boring Tofu