Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tofu Talk

(Originally posted at In Other Words....)

A reader emailed me asking for tips or recipes for eating tofu. Your wish is my command!

Vegetarian tostadas.
I used the already-seasoned pepper garlic tofu and a homemade cactus salsa.

Tofu is a really versatile food. It's has many health claims, that I'm sure you've all heard. It's also pretty cheap! A package costs 1.50 or less. So, if you use a package to replace the meat in a meal that's a great price!

But lots of people don't like it or THINK they don't like it. If at first you don't care for it, cook it differently the next time. Because truly it's a very adaptable food! Here are some tips and then some recipes:

~When learning to cook and eat tofu I think it's best to start with the Extra Firm. Tofu comes in a variety of firmnesses (Is that a word?). New tofu eaters usually like Extra Firm.

~Rinse it well and let it drain between paper towels or cottoncloths--gently pressing it, before you cut it up.

~I think it's best to start eating it in foods that have a lot of flavor, like curries, sweet 'n' sour, Thai, etc. For example: you can add it to your usual curry dish in the place of the meat, for part of the meat or in addition to the meat. You can add lots of other vegetables and make a nice stir-fry. But here's the key to getting tofu to soak up flavor: heat it up first. Then add some marinade or spices. For a stir-fry try soy sauce, ginger, crushed garlic, and sesame oil. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes. Then cook it up with the other vegetables. (If you live in the States, you can buy tofu with flavors already added. It's a fun short cut.)

~To get the tofu to have a more "meaty" texture (if you're really looking for a meat substitute) you can freeze it first. Then when it thaws it has a different texture.

~For really decadent tasting desserts buy silken tofu. I t purees so nicely. Here's a recipe for WONDERFUL vegan chocolate cream pie that uses tofu. It's so wonderful no one will believe that there are no eggs or cream in sight!

Chocolate Cream Pie

1 cup silken tofu
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sweetener (sugar, rapadura, etc.)
4 T. Cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Blend until really smooth in a blender or food processor. Poor into prepared crust and chill until set.

~Try mixing half silken tofu and half peanut butter. Blend in a blender.Use as a sandwich spread. The kids like this!

~Crumble tofu and fry it like ground beef with spices. Add to enchiladas, lasagna or spaghetti. If you want it to resemble meat use the freezing tip. If you want it to be like ricotta cheese, don't freeze it first. This is a great way to trick people into eating tofu! People in my family used to say that they hated tofu. But, I make these type of dishes with tofu all the time. And they eat it up.

Happy Tofu Eating!

No comments: