Master Tofu Cooking
By calorista on June 14, 2010
Tofu cooking has come a really long way in the last couple of years, so if you think that tofu means squishy, tasteless cubes, it’s time to give it a second chance! There are many simple things you can do to turn it into a gourmet meal. Cooking with tofu is a fantastic low calorie way to add protein and iron to your dishes without adding cholesterol, sodium or saturated fat, so be sure to get the simple tricks on how to become a master tofu chef!
Flavored Tofu: There are so many spiced and flavored tofu options available these days, it is pretty easy to find the flavor you are looking for without all of the work of making it from scratch. Although pre-flavored tofu is not nearly as delicious as freshly marinated tofu (when done correctly), it does make cooking good tofu a very quick and painless process. Some of my favorite flavored tofu brands are Sunergia organic flavored tofu (Indian Masala is my favorite flavor) and WildWood Organic’s flavored sprouted tofu (Teriyaki, Thai, hickory, BBQ, Szechuan as well as many other flavors). Wildwood is a great choice because it tastes wonderful and is made from organic sprouted soybeans, which are easier to digest and are more optimal for getting the maximum nutrients out of tofu.
Encrusting the Tofu: We’ve all heard of using bread crumbs to encrust tofu, but have you tried crushed raw nuts, nutritional yeast or cornmeal? These are surprising ways to dial up the flavor! The ground up raw nuts also make for a more healthful tofu crust than breading, as they lower the carbohydrate and sugar amounts while adding nutrients. Crushed pistachios work particularly well. Nutritional yeast not only adds a buttery flavor, but is also one of the only reliable vegetarian source of vitamin B12. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it's a good idea to add some to your diet regularly. Cornmeal works really well for southwestern style tofu dishes.
Making Restaurant-Style Tofu: OK, if you want to know how to make restaurant quality fried tofu at home, listen up people. I had been trying for a LONG time to make good tofu dishes, and let’s just say that my garbage disposal was getting very well fed. Even my food-vacuum husband had to pass on many of my disastrous concoctions, which is reeeally saying something. That was until I finally stumbled upon an article that showed me how to do it right, step-by-step. It’s easy once you know how! In short, be sure to:
- Use extra firm tofu.
- Drain and dry the tofu VERY well (use a paper towel).
- Cut tofu into triangles and blot each side with a paper towel to dry further.
- Take the tofu pieces and fry them in a non-stick pan (fry them completely dry, meaning without using any oil whatsoever).
- Fry them on low heat for about 10 minutes on each side. While they are frying, take the spatula and press down on them to force more of the water out.
- Notice a pattern yet? Dry, dry, and dry again.
- Then marinate the tofu in the marinade of your choice for at least 15 minutes. You cook it before you marinate it, which seems backwards. However, this is best this way.
Get detailed instructions including how-to pictures.
Killer Tofu Recipes: This article wouldn’t be complete without providing links to some of my all time favorite tofu recipes. These are tried and true.
Pistachio Crusted Tofu (Scroll Down)
Cornmeal Crusted Tofu in Black Bean Tomato Sauce
Coconut Curry Tofu
Do you have any tofu tricks up your sleeve? Please share!
To see all of Calorista's healthier-option, low calorie food comparisons and articles, click here.
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