You might not know what tofu is in the first place in order to start searching for tips and information about the right way to prepare and cook it. Tofu is an Asian type of food and maybe that is the reason behind it not being that much known in all the different countries around the world, not just that, but it might not be even available in some of these places. Tofu is a fulfilling type of food and it helps people to lose some weight, which is one of the top reasons why people depend on it to a great extent; to gain its different benefits and at the same time manage to lose some weight.
People are getting introduced to new food types all the time and especially those creations coming from the Asian world, such as the time when sushi became so well-known and asked for in different places, and that is one of the reasons why we decided to shed the lights on this healthy food type which is tofu and inform those who are interested with the ways they should follow in order to prepare and cook it.
Preparing Tofu for Cooking
Tofu could be grilled, baked, and it could be even fried, which means that it could be eaten in different ways through adding it to other ingredients and dealing with it as a side dish, and it could be eaten just the way it is. It is not just about the way tofu could be cooked, but for those who are willing to add this Asian food type to their kitchen, they should know that there are different types of tofu and every single one of them is used according to the dish being prepared; there is the firm, the extra firm, the soft, and the silken.
Tofu comes packed in water and that is the first thing to talk about when it comes to reason why the preparation process is important to be mentioned here. Tofu is healthy for the health of the person since it mainly serves the heart. When someone is asked to describe tofu, the first thing that comes to mind is that it looks like cheese since it is basically pressed soy milk, which is very similar to the way cheese is produced. When you tend to purchase tofu, try to find an Asian local store who sells it because the packaged one is not always as good, but if you didn’t find any, just focus on the date placed on the packaged one you are buying.
To prepare tofu, there are some steps for you to follow before cooking it, such as:
- First of all, You will Need to Buy the Right Type
At the beginning of the cooking process and in order not to get something which is not suitable for the dish you are going to prepare, you will need to make sure that the tofu type you are going to buy is the same one you will need. In order to know the difference; the firm tofu is a bit gritty and is mostly used in stir fries and other dishes that cause rough handling. The silken tofu has a finer and creamier texture and needs to be handled delicately and carefully because it might be easily crushed and ruined, and this is usually used for mixing it in desserts.
- Press the Tofu at the Beginning
The first real step in getting the tofu prepared is pressing it. As we have mentioned at the beginning of the article, tofu usually comes packed in water, even though this is not considered the case with all the brands nowadays. In order to cook the tofu, this water should be removed and the tofu should be drained and this happens through placing the whole block of tofu or even cutting it into small pieces in between paper towels or kitchen towel and then putting something a bit heaver on top for the water to come out.
- Cut the Tofu and Cook it
The last step in preparing the tofu for the coming cooking process is cutting it into small pieces – and that of course happens if you did not do that previously in the draining stage. When you cut the tofu into small cubes, they will be ready to be cooked; whether you want to grill them, bake them, or else you want to fry them.
Tips for Cooking Tofu
Now you know that tofu comes in different types and almost all these different types go through the same preparation stage related to draining and cutting the block into small cubes. After choosing the right type of tofu for the dish you are going to prepare, you should start thinking about the way you want to cook your tofu. There are also some important tips related to the cooking process which you are supposed to follow in order to receive a dish that you are able to prepare one more time in the future; these tips include:
- Marinating the Tofu
A lot of people get tired with waiting for their tofu after the long draining process that they go through, because there are those who tend to wait for it for a whole day by placing them in the fridge, and thus they tend to cook tofu the way it is without any additions, and then come complaining that tofu tastes like nothing. Without adding any marinade to tofu, it will definitely taste like nothing and that is why when you are about to cook your tofu, you should definitely think about the marinade first.
When you think about the marinade you are going to use, there is one thing to keep in your mind and it is about the oily types of marinade found out there. As we have already mentioned above, tofu is nothing but water and even after pressing this water out, you will still find them a little bit watery, which is why using a marinade with oil will never be successful since water and oil don’t mix. The oil in the marinades you tend to choose will ban the flavor from sinking in to the tofu, so always skip the oil and choose vinegar, soy sauce, or citrus juice instead.
- Use Cornstarch for Crispness
For those who love their tofu to be crispy, using cornstarch will give them the chance to receive this final outcome. If you are going to pan fry or stir fry your tofu cubes then using cornstarch to give it that crispy surface is one of the things you will need. You will need this cornstarch coating after the marinating stage; just place those marinated cubes in a plastic bag, add the cornstarch, and shack the bag very well; you could also get rid of the excess cornstarch after getting those cubes out. In addition to the crispy coat that you are going to give the tofu cubes with using the cornstarch, you will also manage to help yourself in avoiding the process of those cubes sticking to the surface of the pan.
- Grill the Tofu in the Right Way
If you are not going to fry the tofu, you might be willing to grill it. Grilling the tofu is not like doing that with chicken or meat because the tofu does not need to get cooked from the inside and that is the reason why you should always pay attention to the amount of time you are taking to grill it. All what you will need to do is spray some canola oil on the grilling surface and grill the tofu for about seven minutes on each side until the grill marks or the crispy edges start to appear.
The different tips which you will need to follow when you are cooking tofu will always depend on the way you are going to cook it; whether you are deep frying it, grilling, or you are baking your tofu and this will always go back to the main dish which you are preparing in the first place.
How Long to Cook Tofu?
Cooking tofu does not take much time; again, it will depend on the way it is cooked in, but generally speaking, all of the different techniques do not usually take a lot of time. There are different mistakes which you might fall into and thus will get the worst tofu at the end; you might choose the wrong type of tofu for the recipe you are preparing, you might not drain it of the water, you might not cut it properly or season it with the right seasoning types; all these different things could bring out not-so-delicious tofu, but that comes in addition to the time taken in the cooking process.
You should be always patient when it comes to cooking tofu because that is the main reason behind ruining the dish. Whether you are baking, grilling, or frying, you should always keep the tofu for about five or seven minutes on each side until it starts to get a little bit brown or golden on the edges; pay attention not to flip it immediately and not to forget it there for more than the necessary.
How Long Does Cooked Tofu Last?
Tofu could last for a different number of days but that will always go back to whether it is opened or not, pressed or not, and cooked or not. When the package of tofu is not opened, it could live with you for up to five days when kept in the refrigerator and up to five months when kept in the freezer, and once the package is opened, it will stay up to five days regardless of the date and of course when kept in the refrigerator and also up to five months in the freezer.
When it comes to the cooked tofu, the shelf life will be of course less, it should be stored in the refrigerator of course and it is better if eaten within two or three days, in order for the benefits to be delivered and in order for it not to be harmful for the stomach.
We always wonder how the Asian people take good care of their bodies and why they most of the time appear perfectly in shape, but now we know that this all goes back to the types of food they get used to from the time they are born. Tofu is a healthy food type which you could eat in different ways and add to different dishes, you will just need to choose the right marinade for it, cook it in the correct manner, and then you will enjoy one food type that is healthy and at the same time could be easily prepared, since it doesn’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes.