A lot of people are afraid of tofu.
Health foodie enthusiasts such as myself may have been scared off due to the grand old SOY debate. In my opinion, moderation is key. Everything has it’s benefits in moderate amounts. Just don’t go silly on the stuff and you’ll be fine. Stressing about it would probably be a lot more detrimental to your health.
Others may be scared of it’s seemingly rubbery, tasteless nature (that’s a weak excuse, probably coming from a poor tofu experience).
Either way- unless you are allergic to soy, a block a week isn’t going to kill you. Most of my soy intake comes from fermented soy (tempeh and miso paste) which is easier on my stomach…. but I do love tofu. We get a block of extra firm tofu every week, which will usually do enough for a dinner, plus leftovers (if Viper hasn’t demolished it all) for my lunch the next day. Basically, it’s all in the preparation.
There are heaps of varieties available, this little method-lesson is for extra firm tofu. Japanese/Chinese grocery stores are great places to get bargain tofu if your local supermarket doesn’t have a great range. Be sure to read your ingredient labels though! For those on my side of the globe (Australia & NZ) my favourite brands are Bean Supreme, Pureland, Tonzu, and Blue Lotus.
First you have to press it. I ate tofu for years and years and years before I came across this tip. Seriously, it makes all the difference. If you take one thing from this post – press.your.tofu.
I take a clean tea towel (paper towel is fine for this too) wrap the block up all snug, and then whack some super-heavy stuff on top. A pile of books/plates works a treat. Leave this for at least 2 hours to get out as much liquid as possible.
Cut into chunks (I usually go for baton-type chunks… about 5mm thick and 3cm long) and chuck in a bit of soy for some salty goodness. Any kind of marinade/sauce will work here, however I tend to keep things simple with soy.
Lay soy-soaked pieces on a lined baking tray… bake at 180 degrees C for 10 minutes, flip tofu over and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until they puff up slightly and are lovely and golden brown. I love the texture pressing/baking the tofu creates… chewy (almost meaty if you are missing those type of protein sources).
The possibilities for dishes using this tofu are endless – chucked in with stir-fry veggies and served over brown rice…. in place of meat-protein in a curry… added to soups for texture… eaten as a “chip” like this recipe or crumbed like this recipe- go crazy.
Honestly, my favourite way to eat tofu is cold, chopped up into tiny pieces and sprinkled in a salad. Viper thinks I’m weird.
Embrace the weirdness, my taste buds thank me every time.