Ah, Tofu…

I’ve tried tofu in the past and I’ve never liked it.  Turns out I wasn’t using the right kind, nor was I prepping it the best way!  I think I was using tofu that was too soft and I was just taking it right out of the package and cutting it up.   Oh the horror!  hehe!

Anyway, I’ll be super sweet and try to demystify tofu a bit for you…

So what the heck is tofu?

Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds into blocks.  That’s pretty much it.  Simple, no?

Tofu has been around since the Han dynasty in ancient China, so it’s nothing new.   I think we just don’t know how to work with it, so that’s why we tend to shy away from it.

There are lots of different kinds of tofu, here are some of the basic types…

You’ve got your soft/silken tofu.  It’s soft, just like the name implies.  Its texture is similar to custard or pudding and It has the highest moisture content of all of the types of tofu.  It’s best used in smoothies, puddings, ice creams, as an egg replacer, etc…

Then there’s firm tofu.  And you guessed it…it’s firm!  It’s drained and pressed, but still has quite a bit of moisture.  It springs back at you when touched.  The texture is similar to a very firm custard.  This was the kind I was trying to use when I tried to make it before, but it fell apart very easily and made the dish a mess.  I think this kind of tofu would be best if you were wanting to make vegan scrambled “eggs” or a non-egg egg salad.

Then we have the extra firm tofu.  This is what I should have used the past few times I tried to work with tofu.  This type of tofu is perfect if you want the tofu to retain its shape like a stir fry or a baked dish.

Working with tofu…

Most recipes will tell you to just drain the tofu, press the liquid out with the tofu wrapped in a towel with a heavy skillet on top, slice it then throw it into the dish.  This is not the best technique, though it will work if you are in a hurry and don’t have time for the technique that I’m about to share.

What you should do is this-

As soon as you get home from the grocery store put it in the freezer as is- packed in water (I don’t think this technique will work with the aseptic packages that are shelf stable).  Let it hang out over night.  Then in the morning, take it out and let it hang out on the counter until it’s defrosted completely.  Then you open it, drain the water out, take the tofu out and squeeze it out over the sink.  Squeeze it out like a sponge.  Lots of water should come out.  This gives it a more “meaty” texture I think.  Then slice it and sear it until golden brown on both sides in a hot pan.  Then you can do whatever you want with it.  Marinate it, eat it as is, throw it in a salad or a stir fry- whatever you like!

I marinated mine today in a little Soy Vay Island Teriyaki Sauce, then baked it in the oven.  Then I threw it in with a little whole wheat couscous and some steamed broccoli and it was AMAZING!!!!  I’ve definitely changed my mind about tofu now! YUM!

Just look how pretty and yummy it looks!



Now go try something new!!  There’s no reason to be afraid of tofu anymore!