Who doesn’t love tofu… right? Just the name alone has a fancy ring to it. Tofu comes in various textures… soft, firm, extra firm, super firm, perhaps even super-extra-ultra-super-hero firm. There is a a texture for everyone and for every recipe. Remove it from its packaging and watch it sit on the surface of your choice in all of its porous, off-white glory. Imagine all the possibilities that the squishy block of food can offer. Sliced or cubed… soup or stir fry… frozen or not (I’ll get to that later). The fate of that tofu could be to star in a scramble. Am I the only one getting dizzy thinking of all the options?
What is Tofu
Tofu was born, so to speak, in China and is clearly a food. More specifically, tofu is made from soybeans and is also known as bean curd.
Tofu is a popular meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans. Not only does tofu’s texture make a great substitute for meat, but it is also a good source of certain nutrients. A half cup of tofu contains 10 grams of protein, 25% of the daily value of calcium, and 11% of iron. Tofu absorbs other flavors very well (this is a good thing).
The Soy Debate
Some say that soy can increase the risk of cancer while others say it can help prevent cancer. I eat soy in moderation, but you may wish to embark upon a research mission to learn the various arguments.
Is Tofurkey Any Good?
You’ve likely heard of tofurkey and perhaps even cracked a joke or two about it. But do you wonder if it tastes any good? I can’t answer that for you! First, we have different taste buds so who am I to tell you what you will find to taste good? Secondly, and more importantly, I must admit I’ve never tried it. From what I’ve gathered though, about 30-40% of people like it. That’s my official estimate.
On the other hand, I have tried the Gardein holiday roast and found it quite agreeable. My husband (not a vegan) gave it one thumb up on Thanksgiving day. However, he didn’t care for the leftovers.
If you only use a portion of a package of tofu, you can store the remainder. To store the tofu, simply place it in a container, cover with water, and place a lid on the container. Keep tofu in the refrigerator up to a week, changing the water each day. You can’t expect such a glorious block of bean curd to be low-maintenance.
Tofu is stored in water, which prevents it from going bad too quickly. Before using, it is drained and (unless it is being used in soup), it is generally pressed. Pressing the tofu literally means to press on it to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
Drain the water from the tofu package.
Place a couple layers of paper towels onto a flat surface, such as a plate or cutting board. Place the tofu on the paper towels.
Place a couple layers of paper towels over the block of tofu, so that it is sandwiched between paper towels. Place a somewhat weighty object on top of the paper towels. A heavy cutting board works well. If you don’t have a heavy cutting board or similar item, you can place a flat item (such as a plate) on the tofu, and then put a book on top of the plate.
Let it sit for about 25 minutes and voila, your tofu has been pressed.
This method works well, but you may wish to invest in a tofu press if you find yourself eating it often. You simply place the block between two pieces of plastic and tighten screws on both ends of the press, allowing liquid to release for 5-15 minutes. You can pick one up for about $15-20. Here’s the one I have, which does a great job…
Freezing tofu changes the texture and often changes its color. It generally becomes yellow in color after being frozen. Some people prefer the texture that freezing gives it, others prefer tofu that has never been frozen. I recommend trying it both ways so you know which way better suits you.
Before freezing, press it and cut it as desired. Cutting it before freezing it will allow it to defrost more quickly. Place in a container or plastic bag in a single layer and place it in the freezer and leave overnight.
To use, remove from freezer and place in the refrigerator for a few hours, or until thawed. It is now ready to be used in your recipe.
Tofu Recipes and Ideas
Do a search for tofu on this site to find additional recipes, and check back often for the latest recipes.
My favorite way to eat tofu is to lightly brown it and dip it in barbecue sauce. Simple and fun. What’s your favorite way to eat tofu?