Tofu, Anyone?

Tofu-ImageI’m not a vegetarian; I love fish and seafood too much for that. I also eat the occasional chicken or turkey, and very rarely, have a steak or roast beef (we’re talking once or twice a year for the steak). But for the most part, I eat a vegetarian diet. Over the years I’ve tried to incorporate tofu into my diet for some extra protein, and it never worked. It just seemed so spongy and well, tasteless.

I mentioned this to a friend who is a true vegetarian, and he said that I wasn’t preparing the tofu correctly. He said that I needed to flatten it (can’t remember the exact term he used). So, following his instructions, I put a large paper towel on a plate and placed a block of tofu on top of it.  I completely wrapped the tofu in the paper towel and around that wrapped a clean dish towel. Then, I put another plate on top of the tofu, and piled a bunch of cans for weight on top of the plate. After about 20 minutes, the tofu was drained and flattened, and much harder than before.

That first time I made it, after cutting the hardened tofu into cubes, I sprinkled paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder all over. Then, I sauteed it in a bit of olive oil until crispy. I added the cooked tofu to a salad, and it was surprisingly crunchy and tasty. One block of tofu made a lot of cubes, so I put the remaining cubes in the refrigerator, and used them over the next few days in more salads. Since then, I’ve added the cubes to marinara sauces and stir fries, and have been equally happy.

But that’s about as far as I’ve gone with my explorations of tofu. The other day I had a very tasty barbecued tofu sandwich at a restaurant. It seemed to be just tofu cooked with a standard barbecue sauce. I think I’ll give that a try as soon as the weather cools off enough to make turning on the oven seem appealing again.

How about you? Do you ever cook with tofu? If so, do you have any recipes you’d like to share?

LinnieGayl

7 Responses to “Tofu, Anyone?”

  1. Missie says:

    Tofu is something I’ve never experimented with — and I’m not sure I could get my hubby to embrace it ;-) — ‘though he, as am I, is a big fan of Chinese hot and sour soup, which often has some tofu in it, I think, doesn’t it?

    That is interesting about pressing the liquid out of it — and I can see how that could make a huge difference in taste and texture.

    As for the BBQ, I would imagine you could simmer it in a skillet with BBQ, or possibly grill it on an electric grill or some such, as opposed to having to turn your oven on.

  2. LinnieGayl says:

    Oh, Missie, thank you! I like the idea of simmering it in a skillet with BBQ sauce. I’m going to try that soon. Thanks!

  3. Missie says:

    You’re welcome!

    I’m not exactly sure how tofu cooks up, but if you try it that way (simmered with some BBQ sauce), you might want to try seasoning it first (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper — whatever feels BBQ-like to you) and giving it a saute, then add in a splash of vinegar and some of your fave BBQ sauce to finish it off.

  4. LeeB. says:

    I’m a picky eater so I’ve never tried tofu and never plan to do so. And its appearance doesn’t scream “I am SO tasty!” ;)

  5. Herta says:

    I use tofu in a vegetarian pot pie recipe. I cut extra firm tofu into regular sized chunks and saute in a bit of olive oil until browned. I also add a healthy dash of soya sauce while it is cooking. I then add sliced mushrooms and cook with the tofu until just barely tender (along with another splash of soya & pepper) I don’t use salt as the soya sauce is fairly salty – however, each to his own taste.

    In a bake proof deep pie dish put in finely diced cooked carrots and peas (until just tender) add the mushroom and tofu mix, add a white sauce (traditional), mix gently. Put a sheet of pie crust over mixture – air holes and bake until pie crust is golden brown. This is a popular and tasty dish I often serve in the fall and winter accompanied by a nice salad and some crusty bread!

  6. LinnieGayl says:

    Missie, those are good suggestions. Thanks.

    Lee, I guess the appearance of tofu really doesn’t bother me; it looks a lot like fresh mozzarella or feta to me.

    Herta, thanks! That sounds really good, and is definitely something I’ve never thought of doing with tofu. I will be giving your recipe a try once fall arrives.

  7. Jean AAR says:

    Late to the party, but here’s my contribution anyway. One of the classic Chinese tofu dishes, and a favourite of mine, is tofu with minced pork and eggplant in a chili sauce. You can have it over rice, but I like to eat it with dry noodles and cold julienned cucumbers, a dish which I stole from one of my favourite restaurants.