Saturday, 27 January 2018

A Guide to Tofu

So if you've never used tofu it can seem a bit daunting. If you've tasted tofu and not liked it, you haven't had it made well. Tofu can be use in literally a thousand different recipes and is extremely versatile. Essentially it's soy bean curd and comes in different forms ranging from very soft (silken) to hard (extra firm). You can also buy tofu that is already grilled or fried, a lot of options in your local Asian market. The great thing about tofu is that it really doesn't have a taste so it takes on whatever taste you throw at it. Soy gets a bad wrap because of studies that were done involving hormonal cancers. Those studies were done on people taking supplements that contained very concentrated doses of soy, far more than you could eat in a day. Asian countries have almost no instances of cancers. Also all soy made in the USA is non-GMO. The GMO stuff is feed to as a vegan it's nothing you need to worry about!
Lets get started!

Silken Tofu

Soft or Silken tofu is used for making desserts, smoothies, soups and as an egg substitute. You will find a multitude of recipes online but here are just a few;

Medium Firm Tofu

Medium firm is great for when you want a bit spongy and a bit firm and need it to soak up the flavour while retaining it's shape. So for things like stir fries, soups or curries this is great. Also medium has more give and bend than firm tofu so is more rubbery and less likely to crumble. this makes it perfect for cheese substitutes in terms of texture.
NOTE: Anything that is medium and harder needs to be pressed. To press your tofu, drain it well and place of a few layers of paper towels on a plate plate or chopping board. Add another few layers of paper towel on the top of the tofu covering with a flat board or plate. Then press by adding a heavy item to the top, a large jar etc. Then wait 10 minutes.

Firm & Extra Firm Tofu

Honestly I'm not too sure on the difference between all the firm varieties except for preference. Firm and Extra Firm will do the same job in terms of keep shape and sometimes the super firm is too firm for me. Firm tofu is the one I find myself using the most. It keeps its shape beautifully and therefore is easy to sear and bake. It's great for quiche, stir fries, faux meats and scrambles! 
Tofu actually takes on a completely different texture when it's been frozen and then defrosted. Kind of a spongy texture so great for soups and curries but not as great for firm needs.

Teriyaki Tofu (great for sushi rolls!)

Marinated Tofu is also awesome for your choice of bowls...

This bowl has tempeh instead of tofu. 

Tempeh is made from soy beans also but has not been as heavily processed and is slightly fermented. It has a more distinct flavour than tofu but is considered a healthier option. Try steaming your tempeh before use for a more neutral flavour.

You can buy already baked tofu which is rubbery and great for certain recipes such as Pad Thai or Japanese Carrot & Tofu Dish.

You can also buy puffy fried tofu from the Asian supermarket...fantastic for curries, stir fries and soups because it soaks up all the flavours!

You can also buy soy bean skins or curd to use in many Asian recipes such as my favourite - Tofu Skin Rolls found at Dim Sum/Yum Cha;

A typical Inari Sushi is made of sushi rice wrapped inside the seasoned deep-fried tofu pockets called “Inari Age” which you can get at an Asian market. These sushi boats have a sweet taste.

So there you are! A multitude of options when dealing with tofu. Here are some more tofu & tempeh recipes!
Just have fun with it and enjoy the possibilities!

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