For the longest time, we had no idea what to do with tofu. Do you ever stand in the supermarket with tofu in your hands, asking yourself what to do with it? Then this article is perfect for you! We’ll teach you all about tofu, about how to prepare tofu and how to marinate tofu best. Because if you know how to do it, a whole (tofu) world opens up!
Tofu is a perfect meat substitute that is 100% vegetable, but tofu itself is quite boring. It doesn’t really have a taste. Marinating tofu well makes all the difference. And that’s not hard, but you just need to know how to do it! You first have to drain and squeeze the tofu well, so that the tofu can absorb the marinade (a bit like a sponge).
What Is Tofu And What is Tofu Made Of?
Originally tofu comes from Asia. The name tofu is mainly used in Japan. To means bean and fu means curdled/fermented. In Indonesia, it’s called Tahoe.
Tofu is made from soybeans and is packed with protein. For tofu, soybeans are puréed, and then boiled into a clumped soy milk. The soy milk is then curtailed and pressed into blocks. And that’s tofu!
There are different types of tofu. The two most popular and well-known varieties are silken tofu and firm tofu. The difference between the tofu varieties is the firmness and the amount of moisture that is in the tofu.
Silken tofu is soft and the firm tofu much firmer. Firm tofu can be found in the supermarket (with the cooled meat substitutes). If it doesn’t say what kind of tofu it is on the packaging, it’s firm tofu. Firm tofu is perfect for marinating and baking, frying or grilling.
Because silk tofu is so soft, this tofu makes it easier for other tofu recipes. For example, to use in a curry or for scrambled tofu. This tofu can be found at some major supermarkets, at Asian supermarkets or in a wholefoods store.
You can also find smoked tofu in some supermarkets. This is tofu that is already marinated, super convenient!
Is Tofu Healthy?
Tofu is full of protein. It is important to eats protein, because protein are a building material of the body. Tofu is definitely healthy, but it is important to eat tofu in moderation. Studies have shown that too much soy can disrupt hormone levels.
In 1 slice (75 grams) tofu is:
- 85 kcal energy
- 5.2 grams fat
- 0.8 grams saturated fat
- 0.8 grams carbohydrates
- 0.8 grams sugars
- 0.2 grams of fiber
- 8.7 grams protein
- 0.01 grams salt
Source: Nutrition Center
How to Prepare Tofu?
Because silken tofu is often used unprocessed, we are talking about preparing firm tofu below.
Tofu contains a lot of moisture and it is important to get that moisture out of the tofu. There are several ways to do this. There are special devices to squeeze the tofu, like this tofu press. If you don’t have tofu press, you can wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen cloth and put something heavy on top of it. For example, a cutting board and books. Or a pan with water.
Leave this for at least 10-15 minutes, so that the kitchen cloth can absorb the moisture from the tofu (the longer, the better). After that, the tofu can be cut. Firm tofu can be easily cut. Cut the tofu small if you want crispy baked pieces. Cut the larger one to keep them softer.
Another way to get the moisture out of tofu is by freezing it. When tofu thaws, it loses moisture. How long can you freeze tofu? Up to 5 months!
To make the tofu absorb the marinade even better, you can poke holes in the tofu with a fork.
After that, the tofu is ready to be marinated. In the next cup we’ll tell you how to marinate tofu in different ways.
Marinated Tofu Recipes
You can marinate tofu in a lot of different ways. It depends on how you like yourself and in what kind of dish you use the tofu. As we said before, tofu doesn’t really have a taste, so marinated tofu is much tastier. Below we will give some examples of types of tofu marinade.
It is important to have a liquid ingredient for your marinade, such as (sweet) soy sauce, agave syrup and/or white wine vinegar. Then you can add spices that you like. It is important to marinate tofu for at least 10-15 minutes. The longer the better, you can leave the marinated tofu for an hour.
Tofu marinade 1: soy sauce, red pepper, garlic, ginger and agave syrup.
Tofu marinade 2: soy sauce, sambal, lemon juice and garlic.
Tofu marinade 3: lime juice, sesame oil, sambal, ground turmeric, ginger syrup, water and salt.
Tofu marinade 4: rice wine, red pepper, ginger.
How To (Stir) Fry Tofu
To get crispy tofu, it should be as dry as possible. This is, of course, tricky for marinated tofu. If you want a crispy layer, you can dab the tofu with a paper cloth before you put it in the pan. Then the tofu loses a bit of the marinade, but it’s how you make the tofu crispy.
Another option is to put the tofu in the pan without marinade first, fry briefly, and then add the marinade.
We personally like it best when the tofu has been in the marinade and then bake. But try what you think is best.
Do you want a really crispy crust? Roll the tofu through chickpea flour, tapioca, cornstarch, potato starch or plain flour before baking.
You can also bread tofu more extensively (tofu tempura). For example, see this tofu tempura recipe.
Recipes with tofu
There are lots of delicious dishes to make with tofu. Tofu is a perfect meat substitute. Our favorites are tofu poke bowl and scrambled tofu.
Already tofu addict? Check out more vegan tofu recipes.
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