Tofu is one of the most versatile, protein rich foods, a suitable substitute for every part of a meal, from salad, to soups, main dishes and dessert. It is an acquired taste well worth trying out.
Tips for Cooking With Tofu:
- Preferably use firm or extra firm tofu. If your tofu seems too soft, you can wrap in a paper towels, and press it with a plate or book or something heavy to squeeze out excess water, for 5 - 10 minutes
- You can also buy a tofu press, such as Tofu Xpress, which some people love. I buy the firmest tofu available and skip pressing. If I have to press, then I just improvise.
- Safety First! Raw tofu should be steamed for 5 minutes, to kill any nasty bacteria, before adding to any uncooked dish, like a salad or sandwich, or giving to children as finger food
- Silken Tofu: apparently has been cooked in processing, or pasteurized, and can be used right out of the box in smoothies, desserts, sauces etc.
- Fried Tofu: Slice firm tofu in ½ x 1" pieces, marinate in soy sauce 5 minutes, then fry both sides till crispy. Kids love this, and you can toss the pieces into pasta, rice, casseroles, stir fries etc. For more adult tastes, add spices like ginger, cumin, etc to the marinade, OR use a spicy marinade, then stir fry with veggies Serve with rice or noodles.
- Cut tofu in 1/2" slices, or in 1" sticks or fingers, marinate and bake or broil. Serve with a grain and vegetables or salad.
- After marinating tofu slices, sprinkle with nutritional yeast available in health food stores, then fry, to give it a cheesy, crispy crust. If you do not have nutritional yeast try grinding some cashew nuts or pine nuts, or any ground nut will make the fried tofu crispy.
- Add raw sliced tofu to any cooked veggie dish, or sauce, and it'll soak up the flavors. Tofu goes well with stir fried greens, especially if you throw in a few spices, like cumin, turmeric, ginger, or garlic.
- Stir unused raw tofu in a tub of water tightly sealed for up to a week. Change the water once or twice to keep it fresh. Store fried or baked tofu in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.Fried tofu freezes well and can be used at a later date for any of these recipes.
Basic Fried Tofu
- 1 lb extra firm tofu, drained
- 1 Tbs Braggs liquid aminos (preferred), or soy sauce
- 2 Tbs olive oil, or other cooking oil
- 1 tsp of any of these spices paprika, cumin, ginger, cayenne (optional)
- 1 Tbs nutritional yeast or ground nuts of your choice!
Slice the tofu in ½ x 1" pieces, or in ½ inch slabs (for sandwiches or tofu 'steaks' -
Place in a bowl, coat with Braggs. Marinate for a few minutes to an hour as you like
Optional: Add a bit of any of these spices paprika, cumin, ginger, pinch cayenne to the Braggs or soy sauce
Optional: After marinating in Braggs, coat with nutritional yeast or any nuts before frying for a crispy crust.
Heat the oil on medium/high in a heavy non stick frying pan or well cured cast iron pan
Add the tofu, fry 5 minutes or so on each side until brown and crispy, turning with a spatula (that's the fun part!)
To speed things up, fry the tofu in 1/2 inch slabs, which you can then cut up as needed
- Different brands of tofu vary greatly in firmness. Try those that are available in your area, to see what works best for you.
- Kids love fried tofu, all by itself, and will reliably eat it, preferably dipped in ketchup (buy organic!). Provided you accustomed them to be adventurous by eating different foods early on in life. Even non-vegetarian kids will eat it. It's fried, crispy and oily - reminds them of fries.
What to Do With Your Fried Tofu
- Serve with pasta and steamed veggies, with a little tomato sauce
- Serve with rice or quinoa and steamed veggies
- Add to a salad for a meal in a bowl
- Combine with sautéed veggies and salsa in a wrap
- Cut in bite size chunks, and add to a pilaf, or veggie stew
- Serve on a bun with fixin's and fries
- Refrigerate in a covered container for sandwiches
Superb Soy/Honey Glazed Tofu
Here is a wonderfully tasty tofu recipe that is easy to prepare and can be great for the nine days or any time of the year for a smart entrée or main dish.
To make tofu more flavorful the sauce will be the main ingredient.
Drizzle the tofu with a sauce of your choice as the sauce bolsters any dish such as plain rice or rice noodles tossed with snow peas, carrots, and bell pepper
- 1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cut crosswise into 6 slices
- 3 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 Tbs fresh orange juice
- 2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tbs thinly diagonally sliced green onions
- 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
Cut each slice of tofu in half diagonally. Place tofu slices on a plate covered with several layers of paper towels, and cover tofu with additional paper towels; let stand 15 minutes, pressing down with a slightly heavy object.
Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange tofu slices in pan in a single layer; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from heat; pour vinegar mixture over tofu to coat. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately over a bed of rice, or noodles..
Preparation: 20 minutes
Gourmet Baked Tofu Patties
Light & crunchy on the outside, moist & delicate inside
These gourmet tofu patties are baked instead of fried, They are gourmet enough to eat with a stir fry and a vegetable tossed salad.
- 1 lb extra firm tofu or pressed firm tofu
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley or basil leaves
- 1 cup COLD cooked brown rice
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 Tbp minced jalapeno pepper or a pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp dried
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp gr coriander
- 1/2 tsp gr cumin
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt and/or 1 Tbs Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
- Reserve: 1 cup fine bread crumbs (whiz a couple of whole wheat bread crusts in the blender or food processor)
Preheat the oven to 375°
Cut tofu into chunks, and whiz in a food processor for about 30 seconds. If you don't have one, mash with your hands or a potato masher
Sauté the veggies (include the fresh ginger, jalapeno & garlic if you're using them) in the olive oil on medium high heat for 5-10 minutes. Add the corn and spices and sauté another minute or two
Add the veggie spice mixture, rice and flour to the tofu, and mix well by hand, or on low in the food processor just until a smooth mixture forms.
Form into a dozen balls, flatten to 3/4" thickness, coat with bread crumbs and place on a baking sheet
Bake for 25 minutes until the outside is crisp and browned
Good served with spicy tomato or tahini sauce, salsa, or even ketchup or mustard.
Total Prep And Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Servings: 4 - 6
Vegetable Tofu Scramble
Cooking crumbled firm tofu in a skillet approximates the fluffy texture of scrambled eggs in this vegetable-studded, vegetarian main dish. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Serve with steamed corn tortillas, some extra salsa and black beans.
- 3 tsp canola oil, divided
- 1 14-ounce package firm water-packed tofu, rinsed and crumbled
- 1 ½ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt, divided
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 4 scallions, sliced
- ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup prepared salsa
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add crumbled tofu, chili powder, cumin and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the tofu begins to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons oil to the pan. Add zucchini, corn, scallions and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook stirring, until the vegetables are just tender, about 8-10 minutes. Return the tofu to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese until just melted. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons salsa and 1 tablespoon cilantro.
Pareve Tofu Cheese Cake
This cheese cake made with Tofu is similar enough to real cheese cake that people can hardly tell the difference and it is a very nice dessert for Yom Tov. Pareve tofu cheese cakes are now regularly served at affairs and it is usually the first to disappear.
Ideally, one should use Toffuti cream cheese that is available in better health food stores, or look for it in specialty stores. You can choose to make your own crust, or purchase a ready pie crust
- ¼ cup canola or corn oil
- 3 Tbs water
- 1½ cup unbleached white organic flour
- Dash of sugar
Mix ingredients well to form a dough and spread it over a 9’ round baking pan, bake for ten minutes at 350°
- 2 tubs 8 ounce (250gr.) plain Toffuti cream cheese
- 1 cup Toffuti sour cream or Rice Dream milk
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup Maple syrup or honey
- 2 Tbs unbleached white organic flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp lemon rind (optional)
Beat toffuti in the mixer on medium high speed. Add eggs and other ingredients and blend well until texture is creamy. Pour onto the crust, bake at 350°F or 180°C.
Garnish with berries, kiwis and a lemon leaf.
Preparation time: 30 minutes