Tofu: How to Avoid 5 Common Cooking Mistakes

Tofu is scrumptious. No, truly, I suggest it. Tofu is one of my preferred foods, however it wasn’t always like that. Prior to I was vegan, I couldn’t stand tofu. Whenever I would get a Chinese food meal that included bean curd, I would inquire … beg them to leave it out. When I became vegan, I understood that tofu and I needed a clean slate to our relationship. The issue was that I didn’t know what to do with it or how to cook it. I didn’t even understand how to buy it due to the fact that there were numerous kinds: silken, soft, firm, extra-firm. And why was it swimming in water? I was lost. At a vegan picnic, I tasted some store-bought, ready baked tofu and believed it was yummy. Then at a restaurant, I ate my very first tofu scramble and was happily surprised at how good it tasted. I understood I had to find out how to prepare tofu myself. It took me over a year to discover to enjoy tofu and because time, I made a lot of mistakes with it. In fact, I think I made every error one might perhaps make with it. Now, I like to believe of myself as somewhat of a tofu fanatic and attempt to help other people learn from my errors.

Here are 5 typical errors made with tofu and how to prevent them.

1. Not Utilizing the Right Tofu for the Recipe

The very first possible error with tofu happens while you are still in the shop. Firstly, always purchase tofu made from organic/non-GMO soybeans. Not that we have that part cleaned up, there are still a number of kinds of organic tofu you can purchase: silken, soft, medium, firm, and extra-firm. Which one do you buy? It depends upon what you desire to make. You don’t want to try slicing soft tofu and then have it break apart in your hands. Silken tofu is best utilized for sauces, creams, batters and in baking. It’s ideal for tofu omelets and mousses. Soft tofu is great for tofu scrambles. Personally, unless I am making a sauce, I buy the extra-firm type for the majority of my recipes. It holds up to whatever I’m trying to do, whether I’m sufficing into cubes for Chinese dishes, slices for cutlets, or dredging it and frying it for Crispy Tofu Nuggets.

2. Not Pressing the Water Out of the Tofu

For me, this is the action that I most wish to avoid however if I do, I’m not going to have the finest tofu meal. Tofu is packed with water, and after that it is packed in water. We require to get that water out and replace it with flavor. Not pushing the water out of the tofu is one of the most significant mistakes you can make. Open the bundle and drain the water. Then you have to press the tofu. The only time I get lazy about this is when I make tofu scrambles and even then, I squeeze the tofu in my hands to go out some excess water.

Here’s how to press tofu: Take a plate and line it with paper towels. Place the tofu block on the paper towels and put another layer of on top of the tofu. Put another plate or a cutting board on top of the paper towels and after that weigh it down with books or cans. Every half-hour or two, drain the water that has been pushed out of the tofu. If you don’t desire to use paper towels, you can simply utilize the plates but drain pipes the pushed water more frequently. Or you can purchase a tofu press and conserve lots of problem. Whichever way, you will end up with a smaller sized, firmer block of tofu. If you are preparing to cut the tofu into pieces, you can do that first and then press the pieces.

If you desire the tofu to have an even denser, firmer and chewier texture, attempt freezing it. Simply get rid of the tofu from its bundle, put it in a food storage bag or wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer for a few hours. When you wish to utilize it, thaw it out in the fridge and after that press it. This is a particularly great strategy to use if you need the tofu to be truly firm and allow you to handle it without it breaking. I freeze tofu when I make my Buffalo Tofu Fries so I can deal with them and not stress over them disintegrating.

3. Not Cutting the Tofu Correctly

I once went to a restaurant that served a tofu club sandwich where the tofu was a giant block stuck in between the pieces of bread. Even worse, I had taken a pal there to reveal him how scrumptious vegan food is and this was his introduction to tofu. Honestly, it appeared like they had simply taken the tofu out of the plan and stuck it straight into his sandwich. If you desire your tofu to have optimal flavor and texture, it is best cut into smaller pieces.

Thin pieces are good for making cutlet-type dishes or for sandwiches. Just cut the block of tofu in half width-wise, and then cut each half into 3 or 4 rectangles for a total of 6-8 thin slices. Those pieces can even more be cut into squares or triangles depending upon the presentation you desire for your meal. I use pieces like these for my Moroccan Tofu in Lemon-Olive Sauce and they are the best shape for sandwiches like this Bad Ass Vegan Fish Sandwich.

Cut the tofu into cubes for stir-fries and salads. Simply cut the tofu into 5 even slices width-wise and then 4 pieces horizontally. Those 20 pieces can be additional cut in half to make smaller cubes if preferred. Cut cubes for this Thai Basil Stir-Fry with Tofu and Eggplant and my Pineapple Island Tofu Kabobs. For kids, utilize cookie cutters to cut tofu into nuggets shaped like hearts or other fun shapes.

4. Not Seasoning the Tofu

This has become a repeated joke in between my other half and me. Each time I read a tofu recipe in a mainstream magazine, they advise the reader to drain the tofu, sufficed into cubes or pieces and prepare it. That’s it– no marinating, no spices, simply cook it as is. That’s absurd. In those very same magazines, I would never ever discover a recipe telling readers to cook chicken or steak without very first seasoning it and yet they do not show tofu the very same love. Not seasoning the tofu is among the most significant mistakes you can make with it. Delicious tofu is all about texture and flavor. Without seasoning, it will be boring and unappetizing. No one desires that.

After the tofu has all the water pressed out of it, fill it support with taste by marinating it and/or seasoning it. A marinade can be as easy as tamari blended with water. Many people develop a recipe for a standard marinade that they utilize in the majority of their tofu dishes. Usually, it’s a combination of tamari, broth or water, oil and a few herbs and spices such as garlic, oregano or paprika. In ethnic dishes like Tandoori Tofu, the marinade is important to the taste of the dish. Make certain to pat the tofu dry prior to cooking it to ensure quality.

Whether you marinate the tofu or not, a dry rub of flavoring will assist add flavor and a crusty texture when you cook it. Select a few of your preferred herbs and spices, blend them together in a small bowl and rub them over the surface area of the tofu. When you pan-fry the tofu, that rub will become a scrumptious crust. For additional creativity, dig up the tofu in something besides just spices like in this Ayurvedic Lentil-Crusted Tofu.

5. Not Cooking the Tofu Appropriately

After all the effort of draining pipes, pushing, cutting, marinading and spices, make sure to cook the tofu well. Whether you are baking it, frying it, breading it, or damaging it, be client and cook it till it’s as browned or crispy as you want it. It could take as long as 5 minutes per side depending upon the size of the pieces. If you are making Chinese food, toss the tofu cubes in some skilled arrowroot powder or cornstarch before frying it. This will make it super-crispy particularly if you are going to cover it with a hot sauce which can make the tofu soaked. I do this with my General Tso’s Tofu and it’s perfectly crispy every time.

I assure you, if you prevent these common mistakes, your tofu meals will come out amazing whenever … unless you drop it on the flooring or burn it. I can’t assist you then. However short of that, use these tips and attempt some of the extraordinary tofu recipes here on One Green Planet.


This content was originally published here.