Like any other type of food, this Asian tofu could be cooked and prepared in several ways and one of these different ways is baking it. Generally speaking, it is believed that anything coming out of the oven moves directly to the heart before it could even pass by the mouth; whether the baked thing is related to desserts or else could be added to the main course. The tips you should receive in order to bake your tofu perfectly are not related to the baking process itself, but are related to the simple additions that could add a little bit of flavor and change the whole thing to the better.
We all know that the Asian people pay close attention to their bodies and the way they appear, making us always curious to know the types of food they are eating, how they are eating them, and at the same time the different ways they tend to cook their food. Among the list of healthy things which they eat is the tofu and there are different techniques to be followed and different recipes to be tried when it comes to cooking and preparing it, but this article will be dedicated to and will focus on baking the tofu.
What is Tofu?
There are still millions of those out there who have no idea what tofu is or where they could bring it from, all the information they carry about this type of food is that it comes from the Asian side of the world. There has been a debate about tofu and its benefits since it started to become famous in different parts of the world; people are wondering whether they should try this food type and make it part of the recipes they create or should avoid it and stop eating it at all.
We have to say that tofu is considered healthy; it is about the white blocks that look in its shape like cheese which is made from condensed soy milk that is eventually pressed into solid white blocks. In order to give those white blocks the chance to hold their shapes, the Nigari (it is a mineral rich coagulant, it is what remains after the salt is removed from the seawater) is used in order to give tofu the chance to solidify its shape and keep its form.
A lot of people believe that the first appearance was in China and the one who was able to bring this type of food out to life was a Chinese chef, while there are those who say that it first appeared in Korea then moved on to take its place in Japan; the thing that we are all sure of is that it comes from the Asian world and that is considered enough to know about the origin of this type of food.
How to Bake Tofu?
Through the different ways that tofu could be cooked in; baking it is one of the easiest and might be the healthiest to choose. There is one question that a lot of people ask about tofu before they dig deep into it and try to add it to their meals every now and then, which is the health benefits that it might carry for the body and the different nutrients and minerals that it could manage to deliver to the body of the person which he/she might already be in need for.
Tofu is considered a good source of protein and it carries all the eight essential amino acids needed by the body. Not just that, but tofu is also a good type of food to depend on when it comes to receiving iron, calcium, and some minerals like manganese, selenium, and phosphorus, as well as being a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B1. Due to these different nutrients and minerals that tofu could successfully deliver to the body, it is always perceived as one healthy type of food that the person could depend on for taking care of the body and in some cases for fighting some diseases and health conditions, such as cancer and heart disease. Worrying about gaining weight from eating tofu should never be an issue, because tofu could even help you to lose weight because it does not carry much calories; a 100 grams of tofu carries: 70 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1.5 gram of carbohydrate, 8.2 grams of protein, and 0.9 gram of fiber.
There are different ways to cook tofu but in this article we are only focusing on the way it could be baked and the different techniques that could be applied to this baking process. There are different recipes to find about baking tofu and we are going to share with you this easy baked tofu recipe:
- The ingredients needed are:
- 1 pound of tofu, sliced into 8 even pieces
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, or to taste
- Directions to follow:
- Start with preheating the oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and lightly oil a large baking sheet.
- One of the steps taken with tofu is the pressing step and this is usually due to the storage part related to tofu; it is stored in water. So you will need to gently press those eight pieces in order to get out as much water as possible and then when you are finished, you will arrange them on the baking sheet you have prepared.
- Whisk together the soy sauce, the agave nectar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger together in a bowl until they are well combined and until the sauce that you are going to use is prepared and comes out to life. Use a brush to gently brush the marinade over the tofu pieces before they get into the oven.
- The baking process takes about 30 minutes by using the preheated oven that you have prepared at the beginning of the cooking phase. When you start to see that the tofu is being baked perfectly, you will get them out, flip them on the other side, brush the other half with the marinade you have prepared, and then bake them for another 30 minutes or until the tofu starts to become crisp and starts to turn golden.
- When the baking process is finished and you get the tofu out of the oven, you will place them on a wire rack to let them cool down; this usually happens with using a spatula of course and not trying to do that with your own hands.
This is one of the different recipes that you could depend on when it comes to the process of baking your tofu; you might want to change some of the ingredients if you don’t like their taste.
Plain Baked Tofu
Mentioning the easiness of baking tofu is sometimes referred to the plain baking process that adds nothing to the whole cooking process, which is another reason why tofu is considered an easy recipe to prepare. The simple baked tofu recipe might be close to the one mentioned above but with fewer ingredients used, such as:
- Using one block of extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- And one tablespoon cornstarch
- Preheating the oven and lining a large baking sheet with parchment paper in order for the tofu not to stick during the baking process.
- First thing you will do is also draining the tofu from water and cutting it into equal slices or cubes. You will press gently on your tofu; this could happen with placing something a little bit heavy on top of it or you could even press using your palms to make the process faster and get more water out. When you get finished with this pressing stage, you will start cutting this tofu block into equal slices or cubes, according to your needs.
- After you cut the tofu, you will go again through the draining process but this time you will only depend on placing something a little bit heavy on top of it and then leave it for about 10 to 30 minutes in order to give this water the chance to come out before you start your cooking or baking process.
- In a medium bowl, you will transfer the cubes of tofu and will add the olive oil and soy sauce on top of them and toss to combine then you will toss the cornstarch on top of the tofu and toss until it is evenly coated with it; always make sure that there aren’t any powdery drops remaining at the end.
- Coming to the actual baking process, you will arrange the cubes of tofu on the baking sheet that you have prepared at the beginning and bake them for about 25 or 30 minutes while making sure that you toss them half way in order for the other side to get baked as well; when you take the tofu out of the oven, the sides should be a little bit golden from the baking process.
The additions that you might use when you are cooking and baking the tofu will usually depend on your likes and dislikes, but this recipe is considered the most basic and those ingredients are needed in order to give you the chance to bake your tofu as correctly and delicious as possible.
There are different benefits for tofu; it is good for the health of the heart, it maintains the blood pressure, helps in preventing cancer, helps with weight loss and prevents obesity, it also prevents type 2 diabetes, slows down the aging of the skin, improves the immune system, improves bone health, prevents the loss of the hair, and it also prevents the disorders related to menopause; all these different benefits should convince you to find this food type, get introduced to the different recipes it could prepare, and eventually try baking it according to your needs and according to the things you prefer the most.