The following tips and tricks will have you cooking tofu like a pro this Meatless Monday.
Tofu is one of those things that either turns up noses or makes mouths water. The problem is, many people who believe they don’t like tofu haven’t had it prepared properly. True story.
Tofu, like any other protein, requires careful preparation in order for it to shine. You wouldn’t just throw a chicken breast in the oven, unmarinated, for two hours, would you?
Further, there are several different types of tofu, which are suited for different types of dishes. The most common types of tofu include the following:
- Firm and extra-firm tofu can easily be sliced into strips, steaks, and cubes, as they tend to hold their shape well. These tofu varieties are excellent in stir-fries; curries; stews; and grilled, baked, or pan-fried into crispy slices—perfect on their own or in a sandwich.
- Soft tofu doesn’t hold its shape as well so it’s best to avoid slicing and cubing. Instead, soft tofu is ideal for blending and crumbling, such as in a tofu ricotta or a tofu breakfast scramble.
- Silken tofu is very soft and smooth and is ideal for use in tofu-based desserts, sauces, and salad dressings.
Tips for cooking with and storing tofu
To make the most out of your tofu-cooking experience, keep in mind the following tips:
- Choose organic, non-GMO tofu whenever possible, as soy is one of the most commonly genetically modified crops.
- Tofu acts like a sponge, soaking up the flavours of whatever it’s being cooked in. To increase absorption press the tofu for 30 minutes before cooking it. This is done by wrapping the tofu in a clean dish towel, placing it on a plate, and placing a cast iron pan on top with some heavy weight, such as a large can of tomatoes. Keep in mind that softer tofu varieties, especially silken, will lose its form completely if pressed, so it’s best to avoid.
- To store unused tofu, rinse it and submerge it in water in a clean air-tight container for up to two days. It will keep for up to five days; however, you’ll have to change the water several times.
- Freeze and then thaw soft or firm tofu to give it a chewier, more porous texture.
- If using a tofu marinade, let it soak up the marinade for at least 15 minutes. Longer is better, however, so if you can leave it to marinate overnight the flavour will be that much more intense.
If you’re ready to give tofu another shot, or if you already love tofu and just need some ideas for tonight’s Meatless Monday dinner, check out these alive recipes.