I’m not gonna lie! When I transitioned to a plant based diet, tofu was one of the foods I disliked the most! I found it so bland, tasteless and boring. However after a while I accepted that tofu and I were going to make nice, it took me more than a year to learn how to like and cook tofu. And now I literally can’t live with out it!
Tofu is super high in protein and very low on fat making it a great alternative to use as a substitute for dishes that have meat. It can be baked, fried, sautéed, marinated, scrambled and even blended for creamy sauces and cheese. The possibilities are endless. I have found that the way you flavour the tofu is the key on changing your mind and transforming it from a bland boring food to your new favourite plant based ingredient. At first it may look strange, tasteless but after you follow all my tips you will fall in love with this amazing plant based ingredient.
1. Choosing your tofu right
The type of tofu you choice depends on what are you aiming to cook. There is 3 types of tofu:
Silken Tofu: This tofu is soft and the creamiest of tofu as it is unpressed. This is a Japanese style tofu and is usually sold in boxes that don't need to be refrigerated. Silken tofu is best for blending into sauces, creams, smoothies, baking, dressings or for soups. This tofu shouldn’t be fried or grilled as its texture is very soft and creamy.
Regular Tofu : Firm tofu is a Chinese style tofu, it is pressed, more firm and easy to handle. This will be labeled from soft to extra firm tofu depending on the amount of water that has been pressed out of it. Soft tofu and silken tofu are a bit similar except that the Chinese version (soft tofu) is not as creamy as the Japanese version (silken tofu) and but it can be used in a similar way as silken tofu.
Medium to Extra Firm Tofu : This form of tofu is more compact and has a lower water content than other types of tofu. Firm and extra firm are the most common types of tofu and these are the perfect types to fry, bake or grill. Extra firm tofu is my personal favourite as it is easier to cook and handle and is the perfect substitute for meat dishes such as curries, salads and stews. To do scramble tofu my favourite type is medium to firm tofu as it is easier for creating that scramble "egg" consistency.
Now that you learn how to pick your tofu type lets jump into how to cook and achieve yummy recipes where tofu is actually the star! ( Like this glazed tofu roast)
*(This Glazed Tofu Roast recipe is part of my new ebook Wholesome holidays click here to get your download link!)
DRAIN YOUR TOFU!
Draining tofu its the most important step on my opinion, simple drain the water excess by covering a tofu block with and absorbent kitchen or paper towel and placing a chopping oar or plate on tofu to press down the tofu and remove the extra water. After this you should have a pretty much dried tofu block
HOW TO COOK FLAVOURFUL TOFU:
Marinate! Marinating your tofu will nail you the perfect tofu bake! My favourite way to do this is marinating tofu overnight or for 1-2 hours so it absorbs all the flavours. My to go marinade is a mix of 2 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos, 1 tsp ginger powder, 1 tsp paprika, juice of 1 lime and 1 Tbsp maple syrup this gives it a salty and sweet Asian flavour. You can also add some sesame seed oil and Siracha for extra flavour. Simply mix your marinade ingredients and add to a bowl along with the tofu mix so the marinade covers all the tofu and set on the fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight for a stronger flavour.
When it's done simply drain the marinade and fry on a pan for a crispy tofu or add fry with the marinade remaining for a sticky or glazed tofu.
QUICK AND EASY TOFU BITES:
Drain and dry tofu, chop into cubes. Add 1 tbsp of sesame seed oil to a pan at medium heat. Once hot add tofu, 1 tsp of paprika, 1 tsp ginger powder , salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 3-5 min each side for crispy tofu bites. Perfect to add on salads, summer rolls etc.
Baked tofu is a great way to meal prep and have tofu in hand for quick dinner or lunch recipes. Marinate tofu with a sauce of your choice for 1 hour then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 35-40 min flipping half way. You will know the tofu is ready when is golden brown and slightly crispy at the edges. Once cooked let chill for 10 min, transfer to a glass container and store in the fridge and there you have it ! Tofu ready to be fried or sauteed in minutes for your meals.
Marinade ideas: Add zest of one orange, 1 tsp pale syrup, 1 tbsp coconut aminos or soy, juice of 1 orange, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tsp of olive or sesame seed oil to a small pot bring to a boil and cook until orange zest is fragrant. ( About 3-5 min). Add to tofu and let sit for 1-2 hours.
Drain and press tofu as instructed above for 30 min. Slice tofu into cubes and cook at medium high heat with a drizzle of oil of your choice for 15-20 min tossing every few minutes until is golden brown and crispy. You can also add marinades or soy sauce for more flavour.
My personal favourite: Add a mix of 1-2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp ginger powder, 1 tsp siracha (optional). Mix and half way while cooking for a nutty asian tofu.
I love adding tofu cream to soups, pasta sauce or risotto for a creamy texture! Simply add silken tofu to a blender with a tsp garlic and salt and 1 tsp water and blend until smooth. This also makes a great ranch dressing simply add chopped chives and you are ready to go!
Now I call this dirty tofu because is my version of transforming tofu into fast food / guilty pleasure. Making fried buffalo fingers, cauliflower wings etc!This involves coating tofu on a vegan "buttermilk" , covering on bread crumbs baking or frying and dipping into your favourite sauces! Check this recipe to learn how to make these delicious cheat meal recipes!
SCRAMBLE YOUR TOFU
Scramble tofu perhaps is my favourite way to have tofu! It will pack your breakfast with protein and is super easy to make! Simple drain medium to firm tofu add to a bowl with one 1tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, pepper to taste, 2 tsbp chopped onion, 1/2 tsp minced garlic or 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Smash with a fork add to a pan and cook for 3-5 min. Add veggies and the you have it a simple and nutritious breakie!You can fin the full recipe here!