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Marinated Tofu

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
In keeping with my desire to eat less animal protein, I purchased some tofu today. There are a few ideas on my computer for marinating and preparing the tofu, but a few more would be nice to have. So, if you've any ideas or recipes for something a little different or more unusual, I'd love to see 'em.

post #2 of 10

Fried served with XO; or, Fried served with Eel Sauce and Tobiko

We like fried tofu in XO.

Cut firm tofu in manageable pieces. Drain and dry the surface. Dust all sides with starch or rice flour about 45 minutes before cooking, and reserve on a rack -- all this to get the moisture off the surface. Then, either dredge the in a fine breading like the earlier starch; or use a very thin batter. Deep fry until appropriately GBD (the starch coatings will finish quite light, barely gold; as to batter, look for normative GBD). Garnish generously with home-made dry XO. Prepare the XO by mincing together 1 part dried scallop with 1 to 2 parts dried shrimp (let your budget be your guide). Add as much finely sliced or minced hot pepper as your wimpiest guest can handle comfortably. (I know you're a chile head, don't deny it.)

Note: You can find dried scallops at up-market Chinese supers and well-stocked herbalists. They are beaucoup tres cher. Considering the ultimate destination, I suggest buying broken scallops if you can find them, they're much less expensive and not at all inferior for this purpose.

We also like fried tofu in eel sauce, garnished with tobiko

Prepare the tofu for frying in a tempura type batter. Drain and dress with a little eel sauce (recipe follows). Garnish generously with tobiko.

Eel sauce (Nitsume) recipe: Mix 1 cup dashi with 1/2 cup good Japanese soy sauce, 1/2 cup mirin and 1/4 cup sugar in a heavy, non-reactive sauce pan. Bring to a low simmer, stir occasionally and reduce slowly until it is a thick syrup. You're looking for a very slow reduction, 2 - 4 hours for a 1 cup yield. Remove from heat and allow to cool. May be held for quite a while in the refrigerator. Like forever. Which really doesn't matter because you'll use it on everything. You can thin it with a little sake if you like -- in which case it becomes kabayaki no tare.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the good idea, BDL. I love a good XO sauce, and you're right, I do enjoy chilies.

post #4 of 10
Hardly unusual or different, I like a to make a fairly simple soup on occasion. 2 - 3 cups low sodium veggie broth, about half a block of firm tofu, diced as you see fit. Half a cup of your favorite mushrooms, sliced thinly, 2 -3 chopped green onions, 1 - 2 thinly sliced hot chilies. Put it all in a pot, simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, season to taste with soy sauce and maybe a splash of rice vinegar for some extra zing. Hmm, I bet some lemongrass would be a nice addition. And if you aren't in a hurry, you can dice the tofu and toss with a tablespoon or two of worcestshire sauce and let it marinate while you prep the veggies and bring the broth up to temp.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #5 of 10
Speaking of tofu soup, there's a wonderful Korean take called soontofu jigae (pronounced soon-DOE-boo -- just forget the jigae). Most Korean restaurants sell it, a few specialize in it.

Shel, you'll love it. As in adore.

It's chili tofu soup with this or that; or, this and that -- depending. The generic is usually mixed, while the specialties or not. IIRC you're a seafood kind of guy and you might want to start with mixed seafood, or clam, or oyster. Other popular choices are mushroom, beef, pork, kimchi, mandu (dumplings), "baby" octopus (my fave), and mixed. Mixed is usually a combination of clam, oyster, shrimp, beef and pork. Mixed is usually what you get in a non-specialty restaurant.

No matzo balls, though. Since they have kreplach, it's too bad they haven't hit on knaidlach. Give it a century. Never (or "hardly never") chicken, either. And that is odd.

The soup itself is prepared with two kinds of red chili, a broth appropriate for the add-ins, plenty of tofu -- all in a special stone bowl (dolsoot). The spice level is "to order." Koreans can get intense with chili, but I know you love it. In your case, I'd start at "medium," or "medium-hot" if they've got the English to understand the distinction. One thing about Koreans, they don't regard "hot" as a challenge. They understand and respect it. If you order "hot" it won't be pure habaneros. It will be hot by Korean standards, which is plenty hot. "Hot" Korean is roughly "vindaloo" in Indian, and "al diablo" in Mexican. I.e., most people find it inedible, while a few can't get enough.

It's served with a dizzying variety of side dishes, which collectively are known as bonchon (or panchan or banchan or ...); you'll be familiar with some of them and not others. Part of the pleasure of Korean food is the seasonal variations in panchan and the creativity going into them. In fact, sometimes you choose a soontofu joint by the soup, and sometimes by the panchan. Koreans think it's healthy and like it for a light lunch. They also think it's great stuff and like it for dinner as part of a combination -- with galbi or bulgogi for instance.

The soup comes to the table at a rolling boil -- and the stone bowl it's served in will keeps the soup boiling for the first few minutes. You'll get a raw egg with the soup. Break it and slide it in. You can let it poach, break it and make an emulsion, or let it cook a little and stir it into threads. Your choice. You also get special rice. The rice is an important part of your eating strategy. Some people take all their tofu out and let it sit on the rice for later. Others, all the add ins. Some (including me) put a little rice in their spoon and get a little soup -- using the hot rice to cool the ridiculously hot soup to temperatures that will only blister and not char your mouth. The best plan is to watch other people in the restaurant and do as is done. Fortunately, as a cultural matter, most Koreans don't mind. They're like Chinese in that respect -- more interested in what you ordered and how it compares to what they ordered, than in waspy social norms.

I don't know what the soontofu scene is like in the East Bay or the greater Bay area. But wherever Korean's are concentrated, y'know. My daughter tells me that there's one place in or around Santa Rosa and it's lousy -- but that's Santa Rosa for you. Not exactly an Asian hub.

Anyway, get a feel for whether, what and how you like it. Then I'll hook you up with the technique for DIY.

post #6 of 10
Here is a recipe from a vegan website for General Tao's Tofu. It has hundreds of comments raving about it being the best tofu recipe they have ever made. I personally found it recently so have not tried it yet, but based on the feedback I'd recommend this already. (DOUBLE THE SAUCE! Seriously, that's what every other comment said to do.)
Edit:I can't post the link until I have five posts, so for now here's the recipe:
General Tao's Tofu


1 box of firm tofu
egg substitute for 1 egg
3/4 cup cornstarch
vegetable oil for frying
3 chopped green onions
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2/3 cup vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 Tablespoons sugar
red pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon sherry (optional)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
steamed broccoli


Drain, dry and cut tofu into 1 inch chunks. You can freeze tofu the night before to get a more chicken-like consistency, but it isn't necessary. Mix the egg replacer as specified on the box and add an additional 3 tablespoons water. Dip tofu in egg replacer/water mixture and coat completely. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cornstarch over tofu and coat completely. Watch out that the cornstarch doesn't clump up at the bottom of the bowl.

Heat oil in pan and fry tofu pieces until golden. Drain oil.

Heat 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil in pan on medium heat. Add green onions, ginger and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add vegetable stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper and vinegar. Mix 2 Tablespoons water with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and pour into mixture stirring well. Add fried tofu and coat evenly.

Serve immediately with steamed broccoli over your choice of rice.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much. I'll definitely look into this ... sounds very nice.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much! I'll be saving your message and the recipe.

post #9 of 10

When you say marinated, here is a wonder and very simple dish to enjoy.



Use the extra firm tofu in the plastic tub. Take off the top plastic sheet and rinse the tofu in the plastic tub a few times with cool tap water. Drained and still in the plastic tub cut the tofu block into half inch strips left to right. Now cut into half inch strips top to bottom. Drop the Juliann strips into a shallow bowl. Drizzle on about a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil. Don't mix yet because the tender pieces will fall apart if too much mixing.



Cut a fresh lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the Juliann pieces without the seeds.


Now add a couple of tablespoons of Kikkoman soy sauce over the mix and stir very gently with a fork.


Put plastic wrap or a plate over the bowl for about 45 minutes. Keep it cool if not going to be used within an hour.



Grab a fork and have a good time! I almost never make it to 45 minutes. Sometime try some garlic or pepper perhaps, just to play, but always use a real lemon and the best olive oil, the best soy sauce.


post #10 of 10

From another thread here somewhere about tofu I learned of a Reuben made w/ tofu. Generally speaking, the idea kinda made me wanna puke. However, I got past that being both open-minded and capitalistic. I just did a cooking class with and for vegetarian college students. This sammie went over big. One change I made though was in the marinade for the tofu. I swapped out the Braggs for a combination of soy sauce, fish sauce and worcestershire sauce sauce. It was really funny that I was able to pick up very good worcestershire and fish sauces in a vegetarian store. Anyway, everyone liked them. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.


"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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