For many people, tofu is a controversial ingredient. While it has its hardcore fans, its detractors claim that it’s a bland, flavorless, and boring food. If you find yourself nodding along, you might not be cooking your tofu the right way — because when prepared correctly, tofu is one of our favorite ingredients!
First and foremost, make sure you’re picking the right tofu for the right culinary job. There are several different kinds of tofu: silken, firm, and extra-firm. When it comes to cooking savory meals, you’re going to want to choose firm or extra-firm tofu. Silken tofu just doesn’t retain its shape in the same way.
Second, you want to make sure you’re pressing your tofu before cooking with it. Most tofu comes packed in water, but because tofu is like a sponge, that means it retains a hefty amount of that moisture right out of the package. Pressing your tofu preps it for better flavor absorption. You can buy a tofu press to assist you in this or you can “make” your own press by wrapping your block in a clean kitchen towel and then placing it between two cutting boards. Stack some heavy books on top of your tofu and allow the weight of the books to “press” the excess water out onto the kitchen towel. Once your tofu is pressed, it’s ready to be marinated and prepared to perfection.
Check out some of our easy tofu recipes below. We hope that they will convince you that cooking with tofu isn’t so scary, after all — on the contrary, it’s delicious!
Smoky Oil-Free Tofu
Tofu and oil-free cooking: two factors commonly associated with being bland and boring. Chuck those preconceived notions right in the trash where they belong, because this Smoky Oil-Free Tofu by Jasmine Briones is about to change all of that. Jasmine lets her tofu sit in a simple marinade made from liquid aminos, coconut nectar, and liquid smoke for a few hours, then cooks it in a skillet until browned on both sides.
Love spices? This Curried Tofu by Molly Patrick uses a marinade of soy sauce (or tamari), water, curry powder, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, onion powder, and fresh garlic. For this recipe, the tofu needs to marinate for only ten to 30 minutes, so it’s great for those days when you have less time to prep. The spices “cling” to the tofu, resulting in flavorful tofu that has a “just right” amount of crispiness on the outside.
Thai Basil Tofu
This Thai Basil Tofu by Sheil Shukla is a super-easy recipe to make — and in this case, you don’t even need to press it! Tofu is sautéed in oil and then mixed with a simple Thai basil sauce that’s spicy with cooling herbal notes.
Lemon Paprika Tofu Steaks
These delectable Lemon Tofu Steaks by Danya Dhanek are bursting with flavor, simple to prepare, and make the perfect addition to almost any dish you care to serve them with. The tofu is marinated in a simple mint, lemon, and black salt dressing and then fried to perfection in a cast iron skillet to give the steaks a crispy outside while the inside remains tender.
Easy Spicy Peanut Tofu Bites
This Easy Spicy Peanut Tofu Bites by Robin Runner will change the way even the most stubborn eater thinks about tofu. Here, tofu is pressed and then marinated in a sauce of liquid aminos, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, peanut butter, fresh garlic and ginger, and vinegar. This can be left for up to three days, so if you know you’ve got a busy day later in the week, you can prep it a few days ahead of time. This tofu is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and exploding with melting peanut flavor.
If you’re a tofu skeptic, we hope this guide has helped you out! For more tofu-cooking tips, we recommend reading 6 Tips That Will Make You Love Tofu and How to Make the Perfect Baked Tofu. If you’re feeling up to it, maybe you even want to learn How to Make Your Own Tofu — trust us, you’ll never find a packaged tofu that tastes as good as something you made yourself.
Need more tofu recipes? Then we highly suggest you check out the Food Monster App. For those who don’t know, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone, and you can follow it on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more. Find more than 8000+ awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. Check it out.
Lead image source: Curried Tofu