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How To: Tofu

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Recently, a few of my friends have posed the question to me: “What do I do with tofu…?” While the answer to this might be obvious to those of us that have been vegetarian for a while, to others it’s a mystery, and rightfully so! I mean, it comes in a box, it’s mushy, water leaks from it, it doesn’t smell or taste like anything, and I’m supposed to be eating this stuff!? Uhhh…right.  So I wanted to dedicate a post to this exact question in the hopes that tofu making/eating will be easier to some of you!

There are really only four steps to enjoying tofu:

1. Drain

2. Flavor

3. Cook

4. Eat

1. Drain:

The most important step in cooking with tofu is draining it. All this means is removing most of the water from the brick of tofu. There are a few ways you can do this. There’s the fancy shmancy way using the Tofu X Press (I don’t own one, and can’t personally attest to how it works), or the good ‘ole “press it with something heavy and use a ton of paper towels” way, which is what I normally do.

Once you’ve removed the tofu from it’s packaging, place it on a plate, cover it with a paper towel, place another plate on the paper towel, and top it all off with something heavy: a book, a huge jar of pickles, a brick if you happen to have one lying around…you get the point. Let the “tower of tofu” sit for about 15 minutes or longer — you’ll see the water oozing out of the tofu. Good!

At this point, most of the water should be removed. But when cutting the tofu up into either slabs or cubes (more on that later) I usually use a few paper towels to soak up some of the extra water from the tofu.

2. Flavor:

Next, it’s time to cut the tofu up. There are a few ways you can do this: either cut it into slabs (one tofu brick usually cuts into 5 or 6 slabs) cubes, or triangles. I usually go with cubes if I’m going to be cooking them on a stove top or slabs if I’m going to use a grill. Regardless, once you have the tofu cut, it’s time to dress it up!

My go-to tofu marinade is soy sauce, pepper, diced garlic, sesame seeds and red chili pepper flakes. I combine the ingredients in a tupperware container, add the tofu cubes, and let them sit for at least an hour (the best thing to do is let it sit overnight, but who thinks that far ahead anyway?!)

3. Cook:

Once you have the tofu flavored, it’s time to cook it. I usually spray a skillet with olive oil spray, put it over medium heat and stir fry the tofu cubes. Once they’re brown on all sides, you’re done!

Another option, if you’ve cut/marinated the tofu in “slab” form, is grilling it. I whip out my tiny George Foreman grill that’s perfect for this exact purpose. Easy peezy.

4. Eat:

At this point you have your perfect little tofu cubes/slabs and you’re wondering what to do with them. Pair them with a few veggie sides, brown rice, noodles, put the cubes in a salad…there’s nothing you can’t add them to.

If all of this sounded a little overwhelming just remember the four easy steps: Drain, Flavor, Cook, Eat. You don’t have to follow the steps exactly as they are above –you can add/improvise the marinade, bake the tofu instead of grilling, etc.

And now I’ll leave you with some inspiration for the next time you get the tofu itch:

The Basics:

Grilled Teriyaki Tofu

Easy Baked Tofu

Grilled Tofu and Soba Noodles

A Little Fancier:

Basil Grilled Tofu

My Tofu Scramble

Note: All photos (Tofu Scramble excluded) are not mine. Tofu Marinade photo is from (never)homemaker,


5 responses »

  1. Hi Stephanie!
    Thanks for the post on Tofu, I’ve always been too intimidated to try to cook with it but now I’ll try it out! I tried opening the link for the Grilled Tofu and Soba Noodles but I can’t get it to open (it’s opening in Google Reader). Is there a better way to get to the recipe? Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Update, Update! How To: Tofu « What Stephanie Made

  3. Pingback: Update, Update! How To: Tofu « What Stephanie Made

  4. Great job, you’ve helped me so much and I am so glad I have chosen your service.


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