I am a carnivore. I recently made casserole to give my wife a day off after Christmas, and that casserole was a thin layer of potatoes, topped by pork chops cut into strips, mixed with sausage, and then covered with two layers of bacon slices (the bacon goes on top so the bacon fat covers everything below.)
On New Year's Eve, however, we had a vegetarian couple over and they brought tofu. It was mixed with cumin seed and bay leaf of what I could see, and if it wasn't for its lightness, you'd swear it was tender chicken breast.
Try as I might, ply as I could the woman with liquor, she wouldn't give up the recipe. "Oh it's easy, you can find it anywhere."
Well, I can't.
I'd also like to eat healthier.
So please, hit me with your best tofu recipes.
Tofu is pretty neat in that it takes on the flavor of the dressing. My recent favorite way to make tofu is to roast it in the oven.
0) Preheat oven to 350.
1) Cut tofu into 2"x3"x1/4" slices.
2) Coat pan with a little sesame oil. I usually "paint" it on with a piece of tofu.
3) Lay tofu flat on pan.
4) Sprinkle salt, black pepper, some more sesame oil, and, for each piece, a dab of maple syrup.
5) Roast in middle or bottom rack for about 15 minutes.
The bonus is if you overcook it, you get crispy tofu jerky.
Be aware that eating tons of tofu can be pretty unhealthy, though not as unhealthy as that casserole. If you want to eat healthier, just eating more vegetables and replacing red meat with poultry and fish as much as possible is probably a better way to go.
Extra-firm tofu can pan-seared and served with a nice Marsala sauce nearly as easily as chicken can.
1) Slice into thin strips, marinate in teriyaki sauce for a while, then pan-fry.
2) get the crumbly kind, and use it just as you would chorizo.
3) (not exactly tofu, but the same basic idea) make miso soup. Easiest soup in the world to make, and I love it.
How long does tofu keep in the fridge?
Can I go to the local mega grocery store and buy a bunch, or does it spoil quickly like meat?
There are many different types of tofu (soft, firm, silken, fresh, dried, water-packed, stinky, just to name a few) so make sure you get the right kind for the recipe you're using. Tofu also has almost no flavor of its own and is essentially a flavor sponge, so you have to adapt your technique to flavoring it compared to how you would work with meat. Knowing those two things will go a long way to producing a good tasting tofu dish.
As far as storing it, dried tofu will last for a good month or so as long as you keep it cool and dry, and fresh tofu can last for a week or so, just dry it off, put it in fresh water every day, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. If your container is not airtight it will pick up whatever flavors are floating around your fridge and spoil quicker.
I am a vegetarian who can't cook tofu...like at all.
The closest I got was thin strip marinated in BBQ sauce, baked and consumed on a hambuger bun. Even then it wasn't quite right. The slices were too thick. Its been a year or two since I tried that so maybe I should give it another whirl.
Overall though, my advice is skip tofu and go striaght to hearty bean dishes where you don't notice the missing meat and vegetable curries.
A few nights a month, nothing overboard.
Tofu is fine but I am a fan of what my Indonesian wife calls tempeh, I think that's how it is spelled. It's likes tofu musli bar (the soy beans are still there, in other words) and cooked with some sweet soy sauce or as part of a mince and long bean dish it is very nice!
Thank you all, keep them coming.
This is getting bookmarked.
Yeah, for healthy eating, your energy would better placed eating more veggies and lean meats rather than replacing a meal with tofu once in awhile.
But anyway, my favorite meat substitute is Quorn. It has a nice meaty taste and healthwise it avoids the downsides of both meat AND tofu (too much soy can be bad). People love it as long as you don't tell them what it actually is.
Unfortunately it's fairly expensive in the US and is usually found in the health food sections.
I have two ways of preparing tofu. In both cases I use extra-firm.
Method 1 is to try to press out extra water, then cube into smallish (maybe 3/4") cubes, lightly marinate in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, and then fry it in a little bit of oil until it's golden and a bit crispy. Then you can add that to just about anything -- veggie stir fry, pasta salad, thai curry, you name it.
Method 2 is to freeze it, then let it thaw. When you go to squeeze out the water, it will begin to crumble. This can be used in any dish where you want a slightly mealy texture. It's also good for "tofuna" which is a tofu-substitute tuna fish. Alas, the recipe is from Peta, but it's still quite tasty as a snack or light lunch. Like most fake meats, it doesn't actually do a good job of imitating the thing it's trying to be, but it's still yummy as its own thing.
1 lb firm tofu, frozen, then thawed
¼ small green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. red onion, minced
½ cup eggless mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ to 1 tsp kelp or kombu powder, (optional)
Squeeze the excess moisture out of the thawed tofu and crumbled it into small pieces. Combine with the bell pepper, onion, and carrot.
Stir together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, lemon juice, and kelp/kombu powder (if using) in a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the tofu and vegetables and mix well.
(Regular mayonnaise can be used in place of eggless mayonnaise for a vegetarian version of this)
Serve on salted crackers.
I apologize for the fact that this recipe is kind of insane, but I am just winging it. It's based off a Moosewood kitchen recipe my friend made me dinner once, and I have been recreating it, sans recipe, ever since. So, here goes.
You'll need one block of extra firm tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger (grated), a can of pineapple chunks in juice, jalapenos, carrots (grated), napa cabbage (shredded), peanuts (diced), cilantro (minced).
Take out a plate and put 4 or 5 paper towels on it. Then take a brick of extra firm tofu and place it on the plate, then add another stack of paper towels, then another plate. On top of the plate put a weight, like a can of tomatoes.
While the tofu is being pressed, make the marinade. Start with 1 T soy sauce, 1 T sesame oil, 2 T pineapple juice, one diced jalapeno, 1 T grated ginger, 2-3 diced garlic cloves. Taste it, adjust it to your tastes. It should be salty, sweet, tangy, sour. No one flavor should dominate.
After the tofu has drained for about 15-20 minutes, remove it from the contraption and dice it into 1" squares. Add it to a plastic bag, add 3/4ths of the marinade. Let it marinate for a half hour, then put it in a baking dish and roast at 350 for half an hour.
Then make a salad with the shredded cabbage, pineapple chunks, grated carrots, peanuts, and cilantro. Dress it with the leftover marinade and add the baked tofu. You can serve it with rice, too.
Yum! I like this post.
Originally Posted by Marged
Tempeh is delicious. You can fry it in a bunch of oil until it's crispy for some tasty tempeh crackers.
Originally Posted by Calistas
Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) just passed, so you can browse tons of vegan recipes (many of which include tempeh or tofu) on people's blogs. Linky:
One of my favorite ways to eat tofu is cold, in 1" cubes with some soy sauce. But, I hear you aren't really supposed to do that anymore.
Usually I use tofu in asian dishes, stir fry, sukiyaki, curry, etc, which is more or less the same procedure cubed tofu + diced appropriate vegetables + cook + appropriate sauce and simmer.
About the only non-Asian dish with tofu I make regularly is a cold southwest style bean and tofu salad.
Cube the tofu up really small (1/2" or less), and dice half a red onion. Put those into some hot oil for a few minutes to soften the onion and fry up the tofu a little. Lower the heat to medium/medium-high after a few minutes and add a can of rinsed black beans, 1 cup of corn (I usually use frozen, but pre-cooked fresh or caned would probably work well too) and depending on my mood, some diced hot peppers and/or red bell peppers. Occasionally I'll also add a cup of cooked quinoa too.
At the same time the vegetables go in, put the spices in too. Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste, 1tsp of Mexican oregano, 1tsp of Mexican basil (Mediterranean equivalents work fine if you don't have the Mexican varieties) and 1tbsp of lime juice. Let everything simmer for a few minutes, while stirring occasionally.
You can eat it warm, but I think it really starts to round itself out after a few hours chilling in the refrigerator. I usually let it stay over night.
I also change this recipe a lot, based on what vegetables I've got that need to be eaten up (as long as it isn't too out of place in the dish). Diced carrots, celery and/or tomatoes have all made appearances.
I'm not vegetarian, but my fiance is and so we do mostly vegetarian when cooking at home. We try not to do soy or tofu based meals more than once a week, especially since we both drink soy milk (lactose intolerance).
Seitan isn't too shabby, either. But yeah, I usually have tofu once or twice a week as a substitute for meat in various chinese dishes. Another fun thing to do with it is cube the extra-firm, fry it up with some coconut, lime juice, and breading, and then enjoy as finger food or mix with pasta or greens.
EDIT - as an FYI on "raw"/cold tofu, it is perfectly healthy to eat as long as it is vacuum sealed (not water packed). Unfortunately, water packed tofu is subject to the same risks of bacteria as many other foods while being stored and should be cooked to kill it off. You'll also likely notice a much different expiration date on those packages, and now you'll know why!
Last edited by Dan_Theman; 01-06-2011 at 01:36 PM.
Fire, the first time I had that recipe was like a ZOMG moment, and I have never quite gotten back there again. It was just such a riot of wonderful flavors and textures - refreshing, filling, and deeply satisfying. I would kill to find the original Moosewood recipe.
Also, for vegetarian recipes, I really enjoy Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything vegetarian. I like him because his emphasis is equally on pleasure and healthfulness.
There are a couple Moosewood cookbooks around here somewhere... If either of them have the recipe you're looking for, I'll scan it and PDF it to you.
I can only find one, of course, and that doesn't seem to have a recipe quite like that, but it does have a tofu salad recipe with soy sauce, peppers, and shredded carrots. Could that be the one?
In certain applications, lentils make a surprisingly good substitute for ground beef.
I really like tofu as a substitute for meat in stir-fry or noodle type dishes. It's much easier to stick a pack of Trader Joe's baked tofu in the fridge at work and break off some of it every day than it is to deal with something like chicken or beef.
We've been using plenty of meat alternatives in meals lately, but we tend to steer away from Tofu since it's so dull (interesting sauce tastes even more interesting with something that has character.)
Like Zylon says, lentils are great, and chickpeas are even better. Chickpeas in anything! We use nuts like cashews and walnuts in a salad rather than chicken, and you can find some pretty amazing black bean burger recipes online. Mushrooms, chopped finely, can make a lasagna feel very meaty. Aubergine and eggplant in curry absorbs sauce even better than tofu. Cheese cubes also work (see Indian cooking)
I never understoof tofu as a meat replacement, and I've had it prepared every which way.. I can never get over that airy nothingness. Tofurkeys, tofu bacon? Even more ridiculous.
Why do we have to think about tofu as meat replacement and not just as another food, with its own characteristics and uses. I love tofu for tofu's sake.
I am not a tofu fan, and I've been vegan for nine years.
If you must use it, learn how to press it. I cannot stress how vital this is. Ponygirl's other method of freezing it first is also good, depending on the texture you're going for.
This. Tofu is a terrible meat replacement, but is wonderful in its own right. There's a chinese market near me that makes fresh tofu every weekend. I especially love the soft stuff, which is pudding-like in consistency.
Originally Posted by Marged
You should toss in some melongene.
Originally Posted by spiffy
What's the difference between Eggplant and Aubergine?
heh, quite right, ////// <--
Originally Posted by Bahimiron
Originally Posted by Mighty Ponygirl
I was hoping someone would say that Aubergine is vegan ;)