Tofu is used in a wide variety of plant-based recipes because it can be an excellent meat substitute. Apart from this, it is popular because it is easy to cook and is healthy food. Due to these reasons, it is a staple in vegan and vegetarian diets. Tofu is also popular by the name – soybean curd as it is made by curdling soy milk. Tofu has a mild flavor, and it easily takes up the savor of other ingredients. This article is purposed towards sharing tips on cooking with tofu so that it tastes good.
What Is Tofu?
Tofu is prepared by pressing the curdled soy milk into cakes. This plant-based food is an impeccable fount of complete proteins, i.e. it holds all the necessitous amino acids. A slice of it contains 13 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, 2 grams of fiber, 55% RDI of calcium, 20% RDI of selenium, 12% RDI of magnesium, 6% RDI of folic acid, and 9% RDI of vitamin B1. Above all, it has been a staple in Chinese cuisine for centuries, i.e. for more than 2000 years.
What Can You Do With Tofu?
Tofu is used in plant-based recipes in the following ways:
- It is used as a mystery ingredient.
- It is either the main or one among the base ingredients.
Based on the degree of their firmness, tofu is available in 4 variants, i.e. silk, soft, firm, and extra-firm. Also, tofu’s gel-like texture can give creaminess and thickness to a dish. Also, it can be used as a filler in recipes.
What Are The Different Types Of Tofu?
The type of tofu that you select depends on the recipe. For example, if you want it to hold the shape during and after cooking, then choose a firm or extra firm tofu. It is suitable for marinating and broiling, dicing, and stir-frying, and baking. Silken tofu is suitable if you want to use it for spreading or as a creamy filling, blend it with other ingredients, or use it for replacing fat.
Silken: This type of tofu is creamy, and because of this, it can be used as a thickening ingredient in soups, dressings, smoothies, pasta dishes, and sauces.
Soft: Soft tofu crumbles easily, and it can be used as a substitute for cream cheese, scrambled eggs, ricotta cheese, or cottage cheese.
Firm Or Extra-Firm: It is obvious from the name that this type of tofu holds its shape, and hence, it is suitable for baking, grilling, stir-frying, or sautéing.
How To Store Tofu?
Keep the unopened tub of tofu in a refrigerator until it is ready to be used. Also, if you have some left, use it in a day or two. The other option is to freeze it, and some people do it deliberately; this makes it more porous after you thaw it.
How To Freeze Tofu?
Freeze the tub of tofu with its packaging without draining it. Also, keep in mind that you need to freeze it for at least a day.
How To Thaw And Press Tofu?
Remove the packaging of the block of tofu, and you can let it defrost on the counter or don’t refrigerate it the whole day. Once it is defrosted, you can press it to remove the excess liquid. Another quick method is microwaving to defrost the frozen block of tofu, and then pressing it for removing extra liquid.
Do You Cut Tofu Before Or After Freezing?
Cut the tofu before freezing it if you want the pieces to maintain a uniform shape. Remember that it will be difficult to cut it after thawing as it will have a more porous texture. when the tofu is frozen, ice crystals are formed inside it. When it is defrosted, the ice crystals melt and open it up. This makes it like a sponge, which helps flavors or broth to penetrate which makes it juicy.
Top Tips For Cooking Tofu
Remember that tofu has a very mild taste that is easily masked by the flavors of other ingredients used in a dish. Listed below are some of the ways you can use it in your favorite recipes:
- You can marinate slices of a firm or extra-firm tofu and grill, bake, or broil it.
- Diced tofu can be used in soups, stews, chili, and casseroles.
- You can pan fry strips or slices of tofu coated in cornstarch.
- Silken tofu can substitute the cheese fillings when cooking plant-based recipes.
- In Japanese cuisine, silken tofu is consumed raw by topping it with soy sauce or other flavourful sauces.
- Silken tofu can be used for replacing half of the fat when making cakes, and it does not compromise the flavor.
- Frozen tofu is a good replacement for chicken, beef, and pork.
- Soft tofu can be used for increasing the volume of egg salad and scrambled eggs.
We hope that the aforementioned details will further enhance your tofu-infused plant-based preparations.