Tofu, made from soybeans, is a popular protein source for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Tofu comes in several different densities. Firm tofu has a higher protein and lower water content than its softer counter parts and is the best to use as a meat substitute in recipes as it holds its shape better when cooked over high heat. Learning to cook tofu can be intimidating initially and it takes a bit of preparation to ensure that the end result of your cooking endeavors is not a watery mush. With these simple methods you can be on your way to integrating tofu into your diet.
Things You'll Need
- 1 16oz. block of Firm tofu
- Cutting board
- Large plate
- 2-3 heavy cans
- Roll of paper towels
- Sharp knife
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Marinade of your choice
- Cookie sheet
- Large frying pan
Pressing the Tofu
Drain the water from the tofu container. Use several paper towels to dab excess moisture off the block of tofu.
Place several layer of paper towels on top of the cutting board and put the block of tofu on top of the paper towels. Place several more paper towels on top of the tofu, and place the large dinner plate on top of the paper towels covering the tofu.
Place the heavy cans on top of the large plate. The extra weight will help push the moisture out of the tofu. Let sit for 20 to 30 min.
Prepare the tofu in one of the following ways.
Using the knife, cut the pressed block of tofu into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick slices. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour in the marinade of your choice.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F . Lightly oil the cookie sheet with 1 to 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and spread the slices of tofu evenly across it.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake the tofu for fifteen minutes. Turn the tofu over and bake for an additional 15 minutes on the other side.
Integrate the tofu into the recipe of your choice.
Using a sharp knife, cut the pressed tofu into 1-inch cubes. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour in the marinade of your choice.
Heat 1 to 2 tbsp vegetable oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat.
Carefully add the cubes of tofu to the pan. Stir-fry for several minutes, stirring constantly to ensure that the tofu does not burn, and that the tofu is browned evenly on all sides.
Add the tofu to your favorite recipe.
Tips & Warnings
- Freezing tofu and thawing before cooking causes to tofu to have a more chewy texture. It will also become more absorbent, requiring less marinating time.
- Extra firm tofu can be substituted for firm tofu.
- Do not use silken tofu in these cooking methods.
- Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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