Tofu is a divisive subject. Some love it and some loathe it but there is one thing that can’t be denied - it’s incredibly versatile. From breakfast foods to desserts, tofu can take on many different forms depending on the preparation.
If you’ve ever had an aversion to tofu, it may be worth taking a second look. This bland block of soy protein can be transformed into a myriad of dishes with a little creativity and effort. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or a meat lover, tofu can provide a delicious quick meal.
When you’re shopping for tofu, be sure to select firm or extra-firm varieties. Unless you plan to mash or puré, soft or silken tofu won’t work as well for stir-fries or grilling. A high-quality organic tofu is best because it’s been made without chemicals or pesticides. Also, try to buy local for both taste and ethical reasons.
If you’re new to cooking with tofu, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, always press or drain your tofu before using. This helps remove excess moisture and makes for a better end result. Next, be sure to season your tofu properly with salt, pepper, and other spices. Then, depending on the recipe, you can pan-fry, bake, grill, or stir-fry your tofu.
When it comes to flavor, the options are practically inexhaustible. You can flavor plain tofu with teriyaki, miso, spicy chili, barbecue, or peanut sauces. Or you can add vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, and onions. Tofu can also be mixed with rice, pasta, quinoa, or couscous to create a heartier meal.
Finally, don’t let its reputation for being dull deter you. Once cooked and seasoned, tofu can be a surprisingly tasty treat. Try it out and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Tofu often gets a bad rap for its bland, unassuming taste and texture. But what many don't realize is that this versatile ingredient can be used to create delicious and flavorful dishes bursting with complex nuances when combined with the right ingredients.
For meat-eaters, tofu can be substituted for ground beef, and seasoned with savory spices for a filling dish, such as in a vegan Bolognese or a vegan chili. But that's just the beginning. A classic way to enjoy tofu is in stir-fries using flavorful sauces like teriyaki, hoisin, sesame-ginger, or peanut sauce. Or, add in some grated ginger and garlic, sweet peppers, green onions, and an array of fresh vegetables to give it a unique and more diverse flavor.
Tofu also makes an excellent addition to salads, brothy soups, tacos, and sandwiches. When marinated with different spices, herbs, and seasonings, it can take on a smoky, spicy, or sweet profile. A few popular marinade combinations include a mix of sriracha, miso paste, garlic, and sesame oil; Italian herbs, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar; or a combination of cumin, chili powder, lime juice, and soy sauce.
For breakfast, make a savory tofu scramble with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and spices. Or, combine crumbled up tofu with shredded potatoes, onion, and garlic for a plant-based take on hash browns. Even desserts can benefit from the addition of tofu; use it as an eggless binder for cakes and use tahini, almond butter, coconut cream, and natural sweeteners to make creamy vegan mousses and puddings.
From savory to sweet, tofu can be used in an endless variety of dishes. With its incredible versatility and health benefits, tofu is truly a food to be celebrated.
Tofu has been a staple in Asian cuisine for centuries, and its origins are shrouded in myth and mystery. But what we do know is that this delectable treat has been tantalizing taste buds from East Asia all the way to western shores for quite some time.
A popular legend dating back to ancient times proclaims that tofu was an accidental invention by a Chinese cook. The story goes that the cook was preparing a pot of soy milk, only to discover that it had begun to curdle. Rather than discarding the now-solidified mixture, the resourceful cook decided to press the chunks of curds into blocks and store them for later use. Tofu was born!
Another version of the origins of tofu comes from Japan where the traditional "okara" dish was made of the by-product of soymilk. In this version of the story, it's said that okara was placed in small bags made of cloth and soaked in salty water to give it flavor. Over time, pressing and draining the okara changed the texture, and eventually it evolved into the soft, silken, tofu we know and love today.
Yet another theory suggests that the creation of tofu was derived from the interactions between Buddhist monks and Chinese society during the late Han Dynasty. As Buddhism spread throughout the region, monks began to practice vegetarianism and abstain from meat. With their increased demand for various plant-based proteins, the need for foods such as tofu was born.
Regardless of its true origin, one thing remains certain - tofu is a beloved, versatile and nutritious food that can be found in cuisines from across the globe. From Chinese stir-fries to Vietnamese salads, tofu has taken on many forms and flavors. Whether you're looking for a quick, easy meal or something more advanced, there's sure to be a tofu dish that pleases your palate.