Tofu is from condensed soy milk and looks quite similar to cottage cheese. It is a rich source of protein and amino acids that provides nutrition to the body. 100 grams of tofu offers around 8 to 10 grams of protein and comes with just about 70-80 calories, making it a very nutritional source of energy. Tofu is a gluten-free, low-calorie source, which is rich in nutrition. It is a lovely addition to vegetarian and vegan diets. You can add tofu to just about any dish, be it a salad, soup, or smoothies, etc., and can complement the dish very well. But while buying tofu, you need to take some precautions to see that the tofu is free from pesticides.
Types Of Tofu
Tofu ranges from soft to extra firm. Each type of tofu differs based on texture and consistency. You may find silken tofu to cotton or block tofu.
Silken tofu is the unpressed form of tofu, so it is soft and silky in texture. This form can be eaten raw and is best for making sour cream, pudding, or dips.
Soft tofu is very delicate. It is pressed for a very short period, and so it has high water content. Since it can crumble easily, it is best for making puddings, sauces, or smoothies.
The medium-firm tofu is slightly softer than the standard form of tofu and is excellent to mix in with vegetables for a sauté.
Firm tofu is one of the most common varieties of tofu. The texture is perfect for a curry or a scramble.
Extra-firm tofu is hard-pressed tofu with very little water content. It holds the shape firmly, so it is perfect for frying or baking.
Pre Preparation Before Cooking
Tofu contains a lot of moisture. It is best if you press it to remove the extra water. It is also essential to do so before frying it in hot oil. You may wrap the tofu in a paper towel or a cling wrap and place a grill pan or an iron skillet on its top. Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes, and then unwrap the tofu.
Chopping The Tofu
Before starting with cooking the tofu, you need to chop it carefully. Use a chef’s knife to cut it carefully into small pieces for soft or medium-firm tofu. The firm or extra firm tofu needs to be sliced down from the center and then cut further into smaller cubes.
Marinating The Tofu
Marinating helps in adding a lot of flavor before cooking. You can add sauces and seasoning to tofu and cover and leave it to marinate for about 30 minutes to up to a few hours. Marinating instills flavor in the tofu.
You can use tofu in many forms, such as raw, steamed, sautéed, fried, or baked.
There are many recipes where you can use tofu as it is, that is, in the raw form. Silken tofu is the most commonly used tofu in its raw form. Cut into small cubes and serve as it is in the form of salad.
You can steam tofu before eating as it also kills off any potential bacteria and makes the tofu soft and easy to digest. Fill a pot of water and place it over medium-high heat. Place the chopped tofu pieces in a basket, put them in the pot, cover, and steam it for around 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir-frying or sautéing is a great way to cook tofu. Cut the tofu into cubes and add your desired sauces and seasoning. After marinating, you may stir fry the seasoned tofu by adding two teaspoons of oil and other cut vegetables.
Make sure to firmly press your tofu before frying to remove any extra water. Frying the tofu gives it a crispy taste. Cut the tofu into cubes and sprinkle some corn starch over it. Toss it with some black pepper and sea salt before frying in hot oil. Fry until it is golden brown on both sides and keep flipping it in between.
Baking is a less oily alternative for frying, and it will also give a crispy outcome. Before baking, you must preheat the oven to around 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line the baking tray with a parchment sheet. It would help if you pressed the tofu before baking. Toss it up with a bit of salt, cornstarch, and black paper. Place it evenly on the baking tray and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
Grilling the tofu is great fun for a picnic or barbeque. You can do this on a charcoal or gas grill. You must press the tofu, cut it into long strips, and add it to the grill after applying little oil on both sides. You can grill it for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Refreshing Tofu Recipes
Sushi Salad With Marinated Tofu
This is a healthy salad full of the goodness of protein and nutrients. Marinate the tofu cubes in ginger juice and add it to the veggies. Accompany the tofu and vegetables with brown rice to give a filling option.
Nachos With Sour Tofu Sauce
The nachos are filled with boiled black beans and lots of chopped vegetables. You can top them with a generous amount of tofu sour cream. Make the cream by blending silken tofu with lemon juice, sea salt, and a little seasoning of your choice.
Lettuce And Tofu Cups
To make lettuce tofu cups, you crumble the tofu and marinate it in chili tamari sauce to give the tofu a tangy flavor. Serve it in lettuce leaf cups and top with chopped veggies, spring onions, and mint leaves.
This is a gluten-free recipe where tofu forms a delicious ricotta cheese. Pulse the tofu in a food processor with lime and basil to create a soft creamy texture. Accompany this with penne pasta for a yummy dinner option.
Sesame Orange Ginger Tofu
Marinate your cubes of tofu using ginger and orange juice and sprinkle them with sesame seeds before baking. This dish will remind you of the heavenly aroma coming out of your favorite restaurant kitchen.
Spicy Sesame Zoodles With Tofu
This super combination of tofu and zucchini is a hit. All you need to do is spiralize your zucchini and toss it with some chili sesame sauce. Press the tofu to remove the extra water, cut in bite-size cubes, and stir fry them till golden brown. Top the zucchini with this stir-fry tofu, sesame seeds, and some scallions.
Stir Fry Brown Rice Noodles With Tofu
This colorful quick dinner recipe is very simple to make. Soak the rice noodles in warm water. Drain them after 10 minutes and add them to a pan full of veggies and garlic. Toss it up and stir fry until it mixes thoroughly. Cut the tofu into cubes and fry till they are golden brown. Top up the stir fry noodles with tofu and garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and lime.
Now that you know all of the different types and methods to cook tofu, you are ready to hit the kitchen. Tofu is such a great vegan protein option because of all the nutrients it contains. All these and many more recipes are a hit for a quick lunch or dinner. Do try them out and enjoy a super delicious meal.