or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › What exactly can you do with Tofu???
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What exactly can you do with Tofu???

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I personally have never eaten this stuff and have heard all my pseudo veggie friends rave over it. I have even passed it by many times in the supermarket. So what do you do with it? All I have ever seen is Tofu Sandwiches. And when you do buy Tofu, what is the best brand to get?? I have also heard from others that Tofu is pretty darn bland. Is this true? Or are my veggie friends right?

:confused:
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
post #2 of 33
I've only done a little work with tofu but from what i learned is that u pretty much want to marinate it in something (what ever ur choice of flavor). As far as cooking it treat it like apiece of meat when doing so kind of like chicken, you can deepfry it, saute, stirfry(my favorite with vietnamese hot sauce) and even make soups with it. Check out some asian cooking books they do alot with it after all it's soy bean curd.:D
drink,eat, and be merry
Reply
drink,eat, and be merry
Reply
post #3 of 33
You can substitute many meat dishes with tofu or seitan.

You can freeze it to create a meatier texture. Thaw before cooking. If you want just a firmer texture, pressing it under some weight to force out extra liquid is good too.

It will pick up flavors from just about anything so it's good for stretching a dish and adding protien and texture. Good in many Asian soups.

For a dish featuring tofu, one of my faves is fried tofu chunks with some soy, maple syrup and a touch of sesame oil and cilantro.

I've seen recipes for it in bread but I don't know why I would bother with that.

There are many varieties and textures available. Aoid the soft and medium unless a recipe specifically calls for it. Use Firm for most cooking. I don't remember how silken tofu is different from other tofu, but someone will enlighten us, I'm sure.

Borrow a tofu book from your library to get an idea of what you want to try first.
post #4 of 33
Marinated and grilled
Fried and added to Asian dishes
Silken made into puddings and sauces or dips...even mayo
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #5 of 33

More FAQ's on Tofu...

Types of Tofu

Three main types of tofu are available in American grocery stores.

Firm tofu is dense and solid and holds up well in stir fry dishes, soups, or on the grill... anywhere that you want the tofu to maintain its shape. Firm tofu also is higher in protein, fat and calcium than other forms of tofu.

Soft tofu is a good choice for recipes that call for blended tofu, or in Oriental soups.

Silken tofu is made by a slightly different process that results in a creamy, custard-like product. Silken tofu works well in pureed or blended dishes. In Japan, silken tofu is enjoyed "as is," with a touch of soy sauce and topped with chopped scallions.

Buying & Storing Tofu

Tofu most commonly is sold in water-filled tubs, vacuum packs, or in aseptic brick packages. Tofu is usually found in the produce section of the grocery store, although some stores sell tofu in the dairy or deli sections. Tofu is sometimes sold in bulk in food cooperatives or Asian markets. Unless it is aseptically packaged, tofu should be kept cold. As with any perishable food, check the expiration date on the package.

Once the tofu package is open, leftover tofu should be rinsed and covered with fresh water for storage. Change the water daily to keep it fresh, and use the tofu within a week.

Tofu can be frozen up to 5 months. Defrosted tofu has a pleasant caramel color and a chewy, spongy texture that soaks up marinade sauces and is great for the grill.

Tips For Using Tofu

The soft consistency of tofu and its mild taste make it a perfect food for anyone. It is a good source of protein for elderly people who prefer dishes that are easy to chew and digest. Soft tofu that has been pureed with fruits or vegetables is a good first protein food for infants. Toddlers can enjoy chunks of cooked tofu for snacks or meals.

Try some of these ideas
- Add chunks of firm tofu to soups and stews.
- Mix crumbled tofu into a meatloaf for a pleasant light dish.
- Mash tofu with cottage cheese and seasoning to make a sandwich spread.
- Create your own tofu burgers with mashed tofu, bread crumbs, chopped onion and your favorite seasonings.
- Marinate tofu in barbecue sauce, char it on the grill and serve on crusty Italian bread.
- Add a package of taco seasoning to pan-fried, crumbled tofu, or a mixture of tofu and ground beef to tofu tacos.
- Blend dried onion soup mix into soft or silken tofu for a cholesterol-free onion dip.
- Stir silken tofu into sour cream for a reduced-fat baked potato topper.
- Blend tofu with melted chocolate chips and a little sweetener to make a chocolate cream pie.
- Replace all or part of the cream in creamed soups with silken tofu.
- Make missing egg salad with tofu chunks, diced celery, mayonnaise and a dab of prepared mustard.
- Substitute pureed silken tofu for part of the mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese or ricotta cheese in a recipe. Use it in dips and creamy salad dressings.

Also, check out this Online Tofu Cookbook
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
post #6 of 33

A favorite

Tofu chunks (liquid pressed out) marinated in sesame oil and soy sauce and sesame seeds, fried in peanut oil. Not too healthy, but not too unhealthy either.

Tasty!

"This Can't Be Tofu" has good recipes in it, as do all the vegan cookbooks.

I used to make vegan scones with tofu in them!

Tofu, by itself, has no flavor. You really must do something WITH it in order for it to be palatable. Because it is soy, using it as a substitute to make smoothies, "sour cream," and dips provides extra healthy stuff. It will conduct flavor well, so adding it to pastries improves flavor, I have found. I'll have to go home to find my vegan scone recipe for you.

Freezing it is a good idea, even after it has been defrosted it retains its crumbly texture.

Mash it up and mix it with turmeric, dill, and other spices and a little oil to make fake egg salad.

Have fun! Don't give up after one try. Try several different things, several different ways. Some health food stores have things like Tofu Helper that create a lot of interesting meals.

~~Shimmer~~
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
Reply
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
Reply
post #7 of 33

I'd vote with those who say it's "pretty darned bland" ...

at least by itself. If I had a team of FBI agents and a week to look, I could possibly find some flavor in it, but it hasn't turned up in any samplings I've done of it. Fortunately, it does pick up flavors from what it's cooked with. A vegetarian neighbor of mine makes a quite tasty dish of scrambled tofu (I think using the soft variety) with a little chopped onion, garlic, and some curry powder. It tastes remarkably like a curried scrambled egg dish.

The other respondents have given a lot of suggestions for tofu used as a substitute for meat. Oriental cuisines also use tofu as a "stretcher," basing a dish on it but putting a little meat in for flavor. Examples would be a Szechuan dish of tofu and a little ground pork in a spicy sauce; a Korean dish that uses a pork and sesame forcemeat as a topping for small slabs of tofu; and any number of others.
post #8 of 33
I believe that a tofu-experience will always be a disappointment if you try to substitute it for meat. Meat is meat. Tofu is tofu. Learn to cook it and appreciate it for what it is. That said, here are a few ideas for cooking it that will make it very tasty and appealing to even the staunchest carnivore (ie. my husband.)

Marinating before cooking will add flavor and texture to tofu. Try a type of soy based sauce called Bragg's Aminos TM-it's available in most natural food stores. Cut tofu in cubes. Sprinkle generously with Braggs' and marinate for 15-20 minutes. Roast on a baking sheet (spray with cooking spray, the stuff sticks) at 425F for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally until edges are golden brown. Try the same treatment with a marinade of 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger.

Contradicting myself, one all time favorite in my house are tofu rueben sandwiches. I slice the tofu in thick slices, marinate in Bragg's, and roast. Then assemble sandwiches with caraway rye, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese slices, sauerkraut and the prepared tofu. Brush bread with melted butter and toast on a griddle as you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

Of course, I use firm tofu with all these dishes. I always buy organic tofu. Although tofu bought in asian markets is tasty, I find the open watery buckets bacterially suspect. Also, soy beans are grown using GMos and many pesticides and fertilizers. Although these beans are meant for feed and soil improvement, oftentimes they are passed on to the human food market at dirt cheap prices. Many tofu makers are happy to help their profit margins by using these beans in production. Avoid anything but certified organic tofu!!

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #9 of 33
I would try that, especially with homemade caraway/rye! :lips:
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
post #10 of 33
Tofu is great with miso soup. It's also in hot & sour soup. One of the dishes in Chinese cuisine is mao pi tofu (sp?) This dish has tofu, pork, and some asian hot sauce in which you stir fry them. And add some garlic for more favor...it's really good. Too bad I don't have the recipe :(
post #11 of 33
That would be Ma Po tofu. Ingredients are garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, hot bean paste, sambal oelek (optional), soy sauce, tofu, ground pork.

Kuan
post #12 of 33

Hey FoodNfoto

I understand that Milton Parker added the Tofu Reubon to his menu at the Carnegie deli.:lips:
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Reply
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Reply
post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all this information.....wow

WOW So much information. So many great recipe ideas, Im gonna have to print this page. I recently got The Japanese Kitchen and The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking Techniques and Recipes and they have background information on tofu and its uses. They also have a recipe for making your own tofu. Doesnt look too hard to make. That sandwich that foodnfoto posted looks delicious. I knida equate tofu as a mild cheese taste and texture in my head. Doesn't it look like brie??

Im gonna buy some on my next shopping trip this week. Ill let you know how it went. I also heard that tofu and toddlers go great together so Ill let you know how my little boy likes it. My daughter will stay far away from the stuff like she does most everything else. Very picky eater.

Thanks again! :) :cool:

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
post #14 of 33
Wow, Cape Chef! I wonder where Milton Parker heard of it? I have only known two people to serve the Tofu Rueben-a friend of mine who owned a restaurant in Key West called the Orchid Tree and myself. It's always been a hit where ever I've served it. The secret is marinating the tofu in Bragg's Aminos-without it, it's really bland.
I wonder if this might be a new game-Six Degrees of Tofu Rueben? I'll go there and check it out.
BTW, isn't the Carnegie Deli where all those tourists were murdered last year?

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #15 of 33
Dear foodnfoto,

I was just kidding about the deli serving a tofu reubon:D

Sorry:eek:
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Reply
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Reply
post #16 of 33
Darn Cape, you really had me going there.
Maybe we should devise a new "smilie"--one with egg on the face.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #17 of 33
i bought tofu the other day... firm and extra firm.. ummm.. i havent done anything with them yet. lol
Chef Isaac... Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com
Reply
Chef Isaac... Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com
Reply
post #18 of 33

Tofu Recipe!

Vegan Scones

1 lb margarine ( ½ lb)
8 oz tofu (xtra firm) (4 oz)
12 cups flour (6 cups)
6 tbsp baking powder (3 tbsp)
3 cups sugar (1 ½ cups)
1 tsp salt ( ½ tsp)
3 cups water (1 ½ cups)

1.Cut up margarine and tofu, put in mixing bowl.
2.Add dry ingredients, and mix
3.Slowly add water.
4. Divide dough into 5 oz portions, about the size of a small fist. Mix with frozen berries, apples and cinnamon, vegan flavored chips, or whatever sounds good to you. (Frozen berries are easier to work with, and you end up with beautifully colored scones. Use about 2-3 tbsp berries, or more if you can mix it in without the dough getting to soggy).
4.Bake at 325 for 12 minutes, rotate pan and bake for 9.
5.If toothpick does not come out clean, cook for 2-3 more minutes. Make sure they are fully cooked. The tofu causes it to take a little longer than it seems it should, because of the moisture.

Compared to regular scones using a similar technique, the colors are more vibrant, and I think the taste of the berries is stronger too.

I would eat these every day of the week. I love them. I used to work at a bakery, and the university swim team coach bought them for her team every single day.

Try it, you won't be disappointed! I am making them this weekend for my in-laws!

~~Shimmer~~

:bounce:
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
Reply
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
Reply
post #19 of 33
Dear FnF: No, it was a bunch of drug dealers who got it in an apartment upstairs from the Carnegie Deli; gangland-type slaying. But all the tourists inside got to watch the police storming in and the EMTs carrying the bodies out. Yuck.

Gee, I haven't eaten there in years. They used to have the best pastrami. Maybe I could try coating tofu with coriander seed and garlic and other stuff that goes on pastrami? Hey, I'm SERIOUS!!!
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
post #20 of 33
I think that would be great Suzanne. I'll try it too. Just don't forget the Bragg's.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #21 of 33
Time was when US soy growers sold the stuff to pig farmers to feed the pigs. What a waste!
There are umpteen things to do with tofu. Many great suggestions in these posts.
A word of caution though, particularly to those trying it for the first time. When it goes "off" it smells and tastes sour. Eating bad tofu is an unpleasant experience. It would be a shame to miss out on such a versatile food product because your first experience was a bad one. Smell it and nibble a piece if in doubt. If it's off you will know it.

Jock
post #22 of 33
If you have access to a Chinatown neighborhood, Chinese tofu is somewhat different from the stuff you normally see, which is Japanese style.

Chinese tofu comes as pillow-shaped cakes around 3 inches square. They appear to have been formed in a cloth bag of some sort. The tofu is firmer than Japanese firm tofu, and can be sliced and stir-fried if you're careful.

There is also 5-spice tofu, which is partially dried and covered in 5-spice powder.

:chef:
Dave Bowers
"First, slice an onion..."
Reply
Dave Bowers
"First, slice an onion..."
Reply
post #23 of 33
Bonjour! Dear Abby has missed you while she has been away! What clever and creative people she finds at Chef Talk!

Dear Abby believes that tofu makes an excellent toy for small children. It squishes very nicely and is not toxic to their little bodies.

As for eating it, however, Dear Abby must decline.

Abby
What my mother believed about cooking is that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.
~Nora Ephron
Reply
What my mother believed about cooking is that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.
~Nora Ephron
Reply
post #24 of 33
Dear Abby might be interested in Athenaeus' virtual community under the title : " I 'd rather die than Cook/Eat Tofu "

:)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
post #25 of 33
To Abby and Athy---

Fine......more for us!

Watch out for that chinese tofu that you describe, Dave B. those buckets in the asian markets are full of bacteria and the tofu is usually made with cheap beans---lots of GMOs, residual pesticides. fungicides, fertilizers, etc. Always buy organic!

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #26 of 33

Korean dubu

There's a Koren restaurant in NYC that I absolutely love -- Cho Dang Gol -- that is famous for making its own dubu (Korean for tofu). They serve things like a soup with the softest "dregs" mixed in, and all sorts of interestingly sauced versions. Some bland, some HOT -- all that we've had were delicious.

FnF -- you are so right about being careful of the stuff floating at the markets! It's actually one item that I'd rather buy in a tetrapak than "fresh."
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
post #27 of 33
Hey, thanks Foodnfoto for the tip on Bragg Liquid Aminos. That stuff is great with tofu, and all around handy for me on a limited sodium diet. Not that it's a low sodium product but the punch it packs in the small amount of sodium is excellent.

Phil
post #28 of 33
I will share my favorite tofu recipe -- ONLY for you! Unfortunately I don't remember where it came from, apologies to whoever.

SPICY BRAISED BEAN CURD
wok or frying pan
glass or stainless jar or bowl
grater

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb tofu
2 Tbs sesame oil

SAUCE:
1/4 cup natural soy sauce
3 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs vinegar
1 clove crushed or minced garlic (3/4 tsp garlic powder can substitute)
1/4 cup tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup water (less water makes tastier sauce, but less volume)
1/3 cup chopped scallions for garnish
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger root (opt)

Press tofu between two inverted plates with a weight on top. (Put something under it to catch water squeezed out of tofu.) Do this at least an hour, preferably more -- in refrigerator if more than 1 hour. (I like to do it much longer, the dryer the tofu the better the texture of the final dish). Make sauce during this time, rice, etc.

Cut the tofu into 1" cubes, 1/2 inch thick. Saute them in the sesame oil until a golden crust forms on all sides and set aside.

Sauce: combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and water. Heat to simmer. Meanwhile, dissolve arrowroot in water. Add to simmering sauce, whisk thoroughly and cook until thick.

Add thickened sauce to the sauteed tofu in frying pan, and simmer gently 8-10 minutes. (If you use less water in the sauce, simmer more briefly.

Serve hot, garnished with scallions and grated ginger root.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
post #29 of 33

I love to start folks out with this quick fix tofu cheese. I didn’t invent it, got it from Kate in Cincinnati.

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 #30 of 33

Nothing like reviving an eight year old thread. :)  Since we're on it, you can also make a soft tofu and serve it warm with ginger infused syrup.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › What exactly can you do with Tofu???