Tofu Making it Tasty Without a Recipe

Cooking Delicious Tofu
Cooking Delicious Tofu

I might be biased since I’ve been eating tofu most of my life, but I like the stuff! It is versatile and soaks up any flavor you put on it, fairly inexpensive, and just full of protein. I usually buy extra firm water-packed tofu from the refrigerator section of just about any grocery store. The different firmness levels are good for different recipes, but for the most part the extra firm works for my daily purpose.

This basic tofu recipe is how I make my tofu before adding it to my Thai Curry, Pot Pie, and Veggies and Peanut Sauce. I use a similar procedure for my Breakfast Sandwich, and pretty much any time I make tofu. Tips, tricks, and variations below the recipe.

 Ingredients

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1/2 lb water packed extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 TBL Tamari

Instructions

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot, about 3 minutes. (If you don’t have a cast iron just go get one.)
  2. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom.
  3. Add tofu and cook on one side until brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Flip tofu and continue cooking and turning until brown on all sides.
  5. Remove tofu from heat.
  6. Let the pan cool for 1 minutes (optional step).
  7. Drizzle the tamari over the tofu, and stir briefly to coat all pieces.
  8. Use as you like.

 

Discussion:

What is important for successful tofu?

  1. A hot pan
  2. Using Fat (oil, butter, heck, bacon fat if you want to)
  3. Adding Flavor

How does it all work 

Texture. For the perfect texture (for me) you have to cook the tofu before adding it to another recipe. I really like the firmer texture, crispy outside, and flavor the extra step of cooking the tofu separately brings to the table. To get the texture and not make a mess you need to:

 

  • Preheat your pan
  • Add the fat after the pan is hot (this actually helps prevent the tofu from sticking)
  • Add the flavoring after the tofu as developed a crust (or marinating before cooking)

Flavor. Obviously flavor is important when making, well, anything. Tofu is a delightful sponge that will soak up anything you pour over it. I rarely marinate my tofu simply because I don’t plan ahead very often. You can marinate it in any marinade you like for a few hours or overnight. Then cook as directed, and even pour a little more marinade over the top instead of the tamari. Other options include:

Flavoring options:

  • Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Salad Dressings
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Nut butters
  • Pre-made sauces like a teriyaki sauce
  • Hot sauce or salsa
  • Sugar or sweeteners
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Liquid smoke
  • Flavored oils or fats
  • Flavored Vinegar

Some of my favorite combinations:

  • Tamari, Worcestershire, Brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar, salt, olive oil
  • Tamari, liquid smoke, brown sugar, hot sauce
  • Tamari and balsamic vinegar with Caribbean Jerk Seasoning

Because of the way I cook it I find bringing flavor in some type of liquid so the tofu soaks it up. I also always use some time of salt because tofu is rather bland. One of my favorite combinations is Tamari, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and a little water. I use this as a sauce for a stir fry with eggplant, tofu and broccoli. Super yummy!

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