If you’ve never eaten or cooked with tofu, it can be a little tricky to give it a good texture and great taste. So I’m sharing how I prepare mine.
I’ve also included a recipe for how to transform bland mushy tofu, into bite sized pieces of crispy fried savoury goodness.
Onto the tofu prep advice.
Firstly; make sure you have the suitable tofu. There are three kinds;
- Silken (generally only used for sauces or desserts)
- Extra firm
To cook with tofu you’ll need firm, or extra firm. The extra firm doesn’t need pressing, but firm does.
Pressing tofu; Pressing tofu removes liquid and creates a more dense texture. Tofu that has been pressed will more readily take on flavours of a marinade.
To press tofu you can either buy a tofu press, or use this method;
- Firstly make sure you have the right kind of tofu. Generally in the UK the most common tofu you’ll find in supermarkets is Cauldron’s firm tofu, so that’s what I used.
- Remove the tofu from the package and drain the water. Wrap the tofu block in either a towel, or sheets of kitchen roll/kitchen towel. Place it on a chopping board or plate.
- Next, top with either another plate, chopping board, or saucepan. Then add weight to the tofu, as central and balanced as you can. Don’t add anything very heavy, that will crush your poor tofu. I find a few 400g/14oz tins work well. Press the tofu for about an hour, check on it every now and then to make sure it’s not toppled over.
- After an hour or so remove the weights, unwrap the tofu and pat it dry. The tofu will now be much firmer to the touch. Before pressing, the tofu weighed 396g, after pressing it weighed 310g, pressing removed almost a quarter of the total weight in liquid. Now it should look like this;
At this point the tofu is ready to be marinated or cooked.
Chicken Style Tofu
If you want to use tofu as a replacement for meat pieces in recipes, I find this method works well.
- One 400g/14oz block of drained and pressed tofu
- One tablespoon of vegan margarine
- Garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce and black pepper to taste
- Crumble the tofu into bite sized pieces like this;
- In a frying pan over a medium heat, melt a tablespoon of vegan margarine. Add the tofu to the pan and season with garlic powder, onion powder, a splash of soy sauce and black pepper.
- Cook on a medium heat for about 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the tofu is cooked check for seasoning. Add more onion powder, garlic powder, soy sauce or black pepper if needed before removing from the heat.
- Shallow frying the tofu cooked out even more liquid, giving the tofu a dense, meaty* kind of texture on the inside, and made it crispy on the outside, like this;
Use the tofu in stir fries, curries, pasta dishes, anything where you’d normally use meat pieces. Just add it to your dish five or ten minutes before serving, just to heat through.
Bye for now 🙂
(*= Full disclosure; I haven’t eaten meat in almost 20 years, so my interpretation of what “meaty” is, is largely based off mock meats, rather than actual meat. So if it doesn’t seem meaty to you, that’s likely why. Bye for now, again, 🙂 )