How to Cook Tofu – some easy tips to help you become that person who actually likes tofu…..
Note: I am not vegan. I am not vegetarian. Not even close. And I am certainly not pretending to be. What I am is someone who loves trying new things. Who knows too much of one thing is usually not a good thing. So I like to mix it up and see what other flavors I like and don’t like. And this past weekend, I cooked with tofu. Yup. And it was good. Which was weird.
I am not going to start putting tofu in everything I eat. I am probably never going to be the person that makes scrambled “eggs” with tofu instead of actual eggs …. nope, can’t do it. But I have seen quite a few recipes lately that have tofu in them that have looked curiously good…. So I wanted to give it a try. Plus, I have been on kind of a health food kick lately…..
Let’s be honest, most people’s least favorite part of tofu is the texture. I mean, generally you buy it as it is soaking in a small tub of water. It is going to be watery and… mushy. Meh.
So, the goal is to help remove some or most of that water and make the texture less watery and more firm and meat-like.
There seem to be several ways people go about doing this, but the one that worked the best for me goes as follows:
- Buy firm or extra-firm tofu.
- Remove from package and wrap in a clean kitchen towel and then place your biggest cookbook or a cast iron skillet on top of it – this will help some of that water to be soaked up by the towel.
- Keep the tofu in the towel for 15-20 minutes or longer if you like.
- Preheat your oven to 375.
- Cut up your tofu into 1×1 inch squares like this:
6. Sprinkle with some salt – this will also help draw out some of the moisture.
7. How long you need to have the tofu in the oven is directly related to 1) how firm your tofu is starting out and 2) how crispy you want it to get. If you are starting out with tofu that isn’t very firm and you are looking for a crispier result, then you probably need a good 20-25 minutes in the oven, flipping over half way through. On the other hand, if your tofu is actually pretty firm and you just want it to crisp up a little bit, then you honestly might not need more than 5-7 minutes. The key is to be an active participant here – take a bite of your tofu after you have wrapped it in a towel. Do you like it as is – gauge how far you need to go to get the right consistency. Then, put it in the oven for just 5 minutes and take it out and try another piece. The general rule is for most tofu, you will need to do 15-20 minutes, flipping in the middle.
8. Once you have reached the desired consistency, you can let it dry out even more by letting it sit out for a bit, or you can use it right away in whatever you are cooking up. Or you can serve it with a little soy sauce and enjoy the firm, nutty flavor of the cooked tofu!
Here was my finished product:
I do have to do a little shout out (this is not sponsored I am just really impressed with their product) – here is one of the tofu products I tried this weekend:
So, instead of your typical chunk of tofu sitting in water, this guy was vaccumed sealed. As a result, the tofu really wasn’t that watery and I honestly didn’t even really need to bake it. I could just cut it right up and start cooking with it. Very impressed. I got it at a local co-op, I haven’t seen it in any major grocery stores, although I don’t normally go out of my way to check out everyone’s tofu selection… Anyway, if you aren’t so sure about tofu, this might be a good brand to start with.
Whelp, that’s it for today! I am hoping to share the recipe I came up with that incorporated this wonderful tofu tomorrow! Stay tuned!