Commonly used in Asian dishes, tofu is a healthy dieter’s best friend. It is relatively low in fat, rich in protein, and a popular meat substitute.
Many people stay away from this humble soybean-derived ingredient because they think it is bland and boring.
Well, it may be bland but it doesn’t have to be boring. Because tofu has a very mild taste, it means that it can be used in different ways.
It can be eaten as is, it can be heavily spiced, it can be lightly salted, it can be used as an extender, and it also can be made into a pudding and used in desserts.
Just because it is commonly seasoned with Asian flavors does not mean that you should limit yourself to Asian cooking as far as tofu is concerned. Tofu can go in Mexican, Japanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Korean, and Chinese depending on what you season it with.
Tofu, when prepared and cooked in a good manner, can be an exciting meal, snack and even dessert. Here are some tips on how to prepare and cook your tofu.
Always drain and press.
Before doing anything, make it a habit of draining and pressing your tofu. Use a strainer to get rid of the liquid.
Then arrange the tofu blocks or slices on a tray and top with paper towels. Put something heavy on top such as a big plate and gently press to remove more liquid.
Make a good marinade.
Tofu likes a good marinade. It can be a soy garlic sauce, lemon fish sauce, garlic sauce, barbecue sauce, or a sweet and spicy marinade.
Whatever you make, just be sure that you let the tofu soak the marinade for at least 2 hours before cooking.
The longer you let it sit in the seasoning mix, the better.
Fry it right.
Frying may not be the healthiest way to cook your tofu but it certainly is one of the most delicious ways.
If you decide to fry the tofu, cut it into cubes or thin slices.
Use a very high heat and lots of oil and allow the tofu to crisp up and become golden. Also, use a nonstick pan for an easier job.
Make it even more crispy.
If the temperature is high enough and there is enough oil, tofu can crisp up and be golden without any help. For insurance, you can lightly coat it with cornstarch before frying.
Bake it as is if you want a healthier meal.
Drained and pressed tofu slices can be popped in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden with very little oil. You can eat this as is or dip it in salsa.
Cook an Asian-inspired stir fry.
Tofu is a good ingredient for a stir fry. It goes well with leeks, peanuts, oyster sauce, carrots, shrimps, and even mushrooms.
You can also stir fry it with green beans, broccoli, chicken, beef, and even bell peppers.
Use it as a substitute for croutons.
For those who love croutons on their salad, you can use crispy tofu instead and top your salad with a sweet sesame oil vinaigrette.
Cook some tofu curry.
If you happen to like curry and you want a less sinful version, you can make a curry with tofu and vegetables. Curry and tofu go really well together.
Add it to your wrap.
Grill some tofu strips and roll them in a tortilla wrap along with cucumber, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and a little dressing.
Make miso soup with tofu.
A staple in the average Japanese diet, miso soup is packed with umami and warms the stomach.
Make miso soup and add tofu slices to make it even more nutritious. You can find miso soup mix in the Asian food aisle.
Make a healthy smoothie.
Blend together some silken tofu, chocolate flavored soy milk, and some frozen banana slices for a filling breakfast or post workout treat.
Cook tofu skewers.
Arrange tofu in a stick along with onions, pineapple, and bell pepper and lightly brush with barbecue sauce. Grill and serve.
Serve it extra hot on a sizzling plate.
Fry tofu cubes, add your sauce of choice while hot then serve it on a preheated sizzling plate.
The high temperature will make the tofu pieces more appetizing and exciting to eat.
Do some tofu mini pizzas.
Thinly slice the tofu, then fry or bake it, then coat with tomato sauce or pizza sauce.
Top with bell pepper, onions, ham, and cheese. Cook in the oven toaster for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese begins to bubble.
You can use other toppings if you like.