You tend to visit a specific restaurant, choose one dish to indulge in, fall in love with your order, and eventually decide to know more about it and sometimes go further with trying to cook it at your home; this is something that happens with those who try tofu for the first time especially when it comes to the Asian cuisines since it originally comes from there. Tofu is the type of food made by coagulating the soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into white blocks, it is also referred to as bean curd and it comes in different forms with different benefits carried as well.
It might not be known by a lot of people out there because not all of them enjoy the idea of the Asian cuisine, but those who do, know what tofu is and how it is considered best to serve it. There are different types of tofu; the soft, the silken, the firm, and the extra firm tofu, every single one of them is cooked in a different way and is usually used according to the recipe being prepared.
How to Cook Tofu?
Choosing the type of tofu to use should depend on the recipe you are going to prepare because the silken and soft tofu for example will not hold their shapes to be grilled and fried and that is when the firm and extra firm tofu are preferred. This is considered the first step to pay attention to when it comes to cooking tofu because it might ruin the whole dish you were planning to prepare. There are still other important things to know about and different other instructions to follow when it comes to cooking tofu which we will bring in this article.
There are different ways to cook tofu but there are beneficial tips to know about before getting to the recipes and before reaching this point. The main problem with eating tofu is that its taste is considered boring, not like meat and chicken, and that of course pushes people away from it too soon and too easily, making them unable to choose the good taste they are looking for. This problem could be actually solved with creativity, with trying to cook tofu with some additions that will add a lot to its taste and will make you able to eat it and receive its different benefits.
At the beginning of the journey and in order to go further with the delicious ways to cook tofu, there are some initial tips to pay attention to at the beginning, such as:
- Draining the Tofu before Cooking it
The first tip to follow here is the process of draining the cubes of tofu before cooking them. The soft and silken tofu types are not drained because they are too soft and will be easily ruined whenever they are pressed, so you should always skip this step when it comes to them, but since you are using the firm or the extra firm tofu types then draining these white small cubes is a must.
The reason why draining your tofu is important goes back to the way these blocks are packed; they are packed in water and this water will never give the tofu the chance to absorb the marinade or even get crispy if you are frying it. In order to drain the tofu from water, you will need to place this block on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and top it with more towels before placing something a bit heavy on top, like your cookbooks for example, leaving it for one or two hours in order for the water to get outside. It is better to leave the tofu to drain in the fridge during the day if you know that you are going to use it for dinner.
- Marinate the Blocks of Tofu and Use Cornstarch for Crispness
Most of those who know about tofu and tend to eat it, love it when it is crispy and that is the next tip to follow when it comes to the best ways to cook tofu which you could follow. At the beginning, we have to mention that since tofu comes packed in water, it will be difficult to place it in oil for cooking even if you have gone through the draining process because the tofu would still be retaining some water, so instead of choosing oil, you could always go for soy, citrus, and vinegar based marinades instead.
Now comes the tip for getting the crispy tofu that you want; a lot of people fail to get that crispy texture and it is believed to be due to a step which they never take or which they forget all about and overlook, which is tossing the cubes of tofu in cornstarch. Cornstarch is very helpful if you want your tofu cubes to be crispy, all what you have to do is place cornstarch in a bowl then add the marinated tofu to it and toss; having a light coat of cornstarch is considered the best for having the perfect crispy feeling, so always shake off the excess.
- Cook Your Tofu When the Pan is Very Hot
This is not just a tip to follow when we are talking about cooking tofu, but it should be one which you are supposed to follow in general; to never sear any ingredient when the pan is not hot enough or when it is still with the room temperature, because that way you are going to fail with whatever you are trying to cook. Before you tend to add the tofu and before you go through the process of cooking it, give the pan the chance to heat up and during this stage add the oil.
The choice of oil is always beneficial because you need those oil types which will add more to the flavor and which will at the same time be able to take the heat. A lot of people prefer the olive oil in general and that is exactly the one you need to avoid when it comes to cooking tofu and instead depend on the coconut oil which add a subtle sweetness to the cubes of tofu, or else the sesame oil which will give tofu a nutty flavor.
And of course we don’t have to say that the final touch is always beneficial and that the sprinkle of salt that is done at the end will always add a lot more to the taste of your tofu and might even ruin all the steps you have already gone through.
Best Ways to Cook Tofu
After knowing about the different tips which should be followed when it comes to cooking tofu, you should now know about the best ways to bring this food type to your dinner table and enjoy every single thing about its taste, not just that, but to be able to receive some of the different benefits that it could manage to deliver to the body.
Generally, tofu is all about the spices added up to it and that is the most important thing to pay attention to when it comes to the creative ways you should cook your tofu through, but this is usually with the firm and extra firm tofu types which are cooked for dinner or lunch, but there are still other different things to do with tofu, even with the silken and soft tofu types, which could give you the chance to fall in love with it a little bit more. Here are some ideas to try out yourself:
- Preparing the Tofu Smoothie
Tofu might be first perceived as something that could be only cooked; grilled or fried, but there are other important things which could be done with tofu in general, such as preparing that smoothie with tofu and blueberries. Smoothies are those drinks which you could depend on anytime during the day, they could be those you have for breakfast, as a snack, or those which you go for after finishing your workout and when we go to those that have tofu in them then this definitely happens due to the protein delivered to the body through them.
- Adding Tofu to Salads
In addition to the ordinary ways of cooking tofu, such as frying or grilling them, these white blocks could be also used in different other ways like preparing salads for example. One of the things to try here is the crispy tofu and broccoli salad, we have already mentioned above how the crispy tofu could be done, so now it is possible to create this salad type. Add green broccoli, tamari, garlic powder, sea salt, and tofu together to get this refreshing salad which could be used as a snack meal or could be part of another.
- Tofu Nuggets
Children don’t always like the same things that you do and might not even eat the same things which you are already eating, not just because they always feel attracted to those unhealthy dishes – because we have to be honest and say that they taste better – but also because they enjoy and pay attention to the look of the things they are eating. If you want to cook nuggets for your children but fearing how unhealthy they are, you could make them with a twist and add tofu to the recipe. In this recipe you will swap out the chicken for tofu and coat it with a breading made from almonds, nutritional yeast, eggs, and flour; your children are not the only ones to enjoy this nuggets’ recipe, but you will even go for it with them and might prepare the special sauce for it as well.
There are other different ways to cook tofu that include making soups, grilling, frying, adding to salads, and even making desserts, you just have to know what you want to prepare, how it is supposed to be done, and choose the right type of tofu for it in order to bring out the recipe in the right way without losing anything from its shape or its taste. Tofu is definitely healthy for you and if you have the chance to substitute something in your recipe with it then you have to do that immediately.