runningwithrewards

Living a balanced life with lots of creative food, exercise and exploration!

Tofu Tutorial!

on March 31, 2012

Since becoming a vegetarian, many people have asked what I eat.  How I could possibly survive without meat.  Answer: Quite easily in fact!  In order to ensure I got the proper nutrients, and for culinary inspiration, I began following many blogs and reading a lot about various sources of nutrition, and it actually became quite simple.

Protein – fairly easy to get, without the animal fats and chemicals and antibiotics.  Meat substitutes – tofu, tempeh, seitan etc.  Other fabulous sources – beans, lentils, full whole grains etc.

Anyway, tofu isn’t exactly an easy medium, and it’s taken me a little while to develop a system for preparing it and cooking it which, in my humble opinion, results in some tasty results!  So, I thought I would share my knowledge with my lovely readers.  This one’s for you Yosef 😉

Preparation:

To begin, Our tools:

Heavy plates and paper towels.  High tech.

Next, cut open the container, leaving the top intact.  Then, drain the water from the tofu in the container, as most tofu is preserved in water.

Prepare your high tech draining device by placing a layer of paper towels on a plate.

**disclaimer, I usually try to stay away from using paper towels and wasting them, but I’ve yet to find an adequate substitute.

Cut up the tofu in whatever shape fits the recipe.  Typically, I cube it up because the smaller the pieces, the more seasonings and flavors I can get in!

Then, place another layer of paper towels over the tofu, and place another heavy plate on top of the tofu.  Press down with your hand, then place in the fridge with something heavy on top.  This extracts alot of the water.  Let sit over night.

Next Day: Marinating time!  My go to’s: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder.  Then, recipe specific additions.

For a normal weekday meal, I’ll just use a marinade.  For this recipe, I used Thai chili sauce and Thai Peanut sauce.  I sprinkled the seasonings, then lightly poured on the marinades and rubbed them in.

Replace the other plate upside down, then flip so you can do the other side.  Repeat!  To get optimal flavor, I then put this in the fridge to let the flavors soak in, often over another night, but it’s not necessary.

Recipe Time! Spicy Thai Tofu with Red Bell Peppers and Peanuts

Now that we’ve prepped, it’s time to make a recipe.  I found it through the epicurious app on my phone, and it became an instant classic in my recipe repertoire 🙂  Find the recipe here.  Basically, start by chopping up your veggies (I added broccoli and decreased the pepper, based on personal preference).

In a separate pan (unlike the recipe), I heat a little oil and Pam on high heat, then add the tofu to get a nice sear.  After one side gets a nice crust, I start flipping the pieces.  This can be a little tedious, but so worth it!  It results in a great consistency.

 Back in our veggie pan, saute up the onions and garlic until clear-ish.  Then, add in the veggies and cook until softened.  Then add in the liquid (soy sauce and lime juice) and let steam.

Next, add in the greens and the cooked, crispy tofu to absorb the flavors.  Cook until the greens wilt, and voila!  All done 🙂

Topped with chopped peanuts and a side of brown rice.  Fabuloso.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Next Recipe: Tofu Tenders

Don’t know where this recipe came from, I just thought it would be fun to try!  I was craving something crispy and hearty, and I thought of baked chicken tenders.  From there, I just winged it, let my stomach be the guide 🙂

As I mentioned earlier,  when you’re cutting the tofu, base it on the recipe.  For this one, I cut into thirds vertically, then into triangles.  Not pictured: Same steps as above.  Press out liquid, let sit overnight, then marinate in base flavors.

Then, simple breading.  I just used simple bread crumbs.  I probably could have first coated them with flour, then done a flax egg mix, then bread crumbs, but, making two tofu dinners was complicated enough, without adding extra steps!  The end result was still nice and crispy, so perhaps I didn’t need it anyway 🙂

Seasoning on the tofu: In addition to salt, pepper, garlic, and onion, I added some chili powder and Seasoned Salt.

I coated each triangle with as much breading as they could take.  Then, baked on 400 degrees for 12 minutes one side, the 8 minutes.  Finished product:

Super Yummy and great texture!

So there you have it folks.  Two delicious and completely different recipes, which are protein and nutrient packed, and easy to make.  Let me know if you have any questions!  Once you have the basic technique, the possibilities are endless 🙂

Enjoy!

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2 responses to “Tofu Tutorial!

  1. Conor says:

    Who’s this Yosef guy…I don’t trust him. Awesome post…very helpful!

  2. […] Tofu (see here for my post on how to do this!), cut into large […]

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