How to Cook Tofu: 6 Top Tips
Tofu is a food saviour for us vegetarians! Tofu is a great source of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B1 and plenty other minerals, along with being a handy source of protein. In a 100g serving you can expect to take in around 8.2g protein - vegan heaven! It doesn’t stop there, tofu contains all 8 essential amino acids (which are usually found from animal-based foods), and is a great source of phytoestrogen too.
The problem is that tofu has something of a dodgy reputation. Years of mistreatment have led many to shun tofu because of its soggy texture and bland taste. But with some moderate preparation you can be enjoying great-tasting tofu with the perfect texture. Whether you want something crispy to add to salads or smooth and creamy for use in desserts, this protein-rich gem is a versatile addition to your cooking repetoire.
If you're wondering how to cook tofu, here are my 6 top tips:
1. Know your types
Tofu comes in many forms and buying the wrong one can put you off big time. Use silken varieties that come in cardboard-type boxes for blending into desserts and smoothies for creaminess. Use firm to extra-firm tofu for crisping, grilling and adding to stir-fries.
2. Press don’t drain
Most types of tofu are stored in water for freshness, the only problem is tofu acts as a sponge. If your tofu is full of water, there's no room for it to absorb marinades and soak-up flavour. Cut your tofu into 4 or 5 slices, lay on a towel with kitchen paper, place a heavy object on top of the tofu (such as one of those 300 page cook books we never quite get around to reading...), and leave for a minimum of 30 minutes.
3. Use bold flavours
As most people who attempt tofu for the first time will tell you, it’s bland and tastes of nothing. Don’t let this be the case - as I said tofu is like a sponge and it can absorb marinades much quicker than meat. Once you've drained your tofu, use bold, acidic or rich flavours such as soy, ginger and garlic to bring it to life.
4. It’s all about the cornflour
This is something we all have hidden away in the cupboard never to be used...well now is the perfect time! Toss corn flour and tofu into a freezer bag then shake off any excess. Try shallow or deep-frying for crispy on the outside and full of flavour in the middle tofu - great in a pad Thai.
5. Coat in breadcrumbs
Dip in flour, beaten egg and then breadcrumbs. This can then be fried, grilled or oven-cooked and tastes great in a homemade Katsu curry!
6. Keep it hot, hot, hot!
When frying your tofu, heat the pan before adding the oil and cook in small batches. This means you’ll get a crispy outer texture and you won’t block the heat and cause it to turn sloppy. I prefer to use rapeseed oil because of its high smoking temperature, or sesame oil if I am cooking an Asian dish.
Do you have any more tips we could use? These are my most important tofu-cooking rules to live by but there is always room for more! Share your tips and recipes in the comment box below - I’d love to know them…
mouth-watering to share?