Joy of Soy
From food , to fitness, to fuel , the benefits of soy are pretty much known to everyone (unless you’ve been hiding from civilization). Starting as a legume, these popular beans are then processed into blocks of a soy by-product known as Tofu. Everyone who has ever eaten tofu either loves it, hates it, or won’t try it. Sometimes tofu gets such a bad wrap as a protein alternative to meat because (really, there isn’t much comparison between the two beyond the flavor) many say it tastes like “mush”, “styrofoam”, or “really, nothing”. Tofu can taste like all that, unless it is prepared in such a way that allows the tofu to absorb other flavors of the dish.
We want to share with everyone our positive perspectives on tofu and our techniques on how to work with tofu to share with your veggie friends . Tofu really isn’t all that bad for those of you who had a “not so tasteful” experience with it. Think of tofu as a blank canvas and you are the artist with your kitchen tools as your paintbrush and your ingredients as your color paints. Now go create something beautiful and tasty!
Vietnamese Banh Mi baguette sandwich stuffed with lemongrass tofu !
Here are some of our basic techniques to cook tofu to the appropriate texture when following our tofu recipes:
1. Tofu slices “steaks” or even “cubes” . Starting with a “firm” tofu block, an easy way of serving it is to slice it thinly into sheets or cutting into cubes and frying it. This will add a multitude of options for your dishes. These steaks can then be eaten as as a main dish with other side accompaniments. They can also be sliced, or chopped and added to salads, sandwiches or just about anything you can think of.
Slice tofu into thin pieces (you decide your prefered thickness).
Blot the tofu dry between paper towels to remove the excess water. You may need to change the paper towels a few times because the tofu has so much water. Continue pressing down on the tofu during this step .This will dry out the tofu, but when you marinade the tofu, it will absorb your marinade . When the tofu cooks, the results will be flavorful , moist piece of tofu with a nice outer crust.
Marinade the tofu with your choice of spices (or from recipe) . If you used oil in your marinade, then you do not need to oil your pan prior to frying. If you used a dry marinade, then adding a little oil to the pan will help the tofu create it’s crust and keep it from sticking. For deep frying, just fry the tofu in about 1 inch of oil in your frying pan.
Once you see a nice crust form, flip! Wow, it doesn’t look so bad ! It actually looks tasty !
2. Crumbled Tofu . Starting with a “firm” tofu block, break it into small pieces.
Lay it on top of a generous layer of paper towels.
Squeeze out all the excess water as you break apart the tofu. These crumbles can then marinated, then stir-fried or re-shaped into various styles to create tofu “balls” or “loaves”. Breaking them into crumbles helps with the absorption of the marinade before cook it to your desired texture, size and consistency.
3. Soft Tofu. Soft or silky tofu is very delicate and must be handles carefully if you want to maintain it’s original square shape. Most silky tofu will be eaten raw, used in soups, dips or dressings . Stir-frying silky tofu will be tricky because it is so soft, but can hold up well to deep frying.
*******More Pictures Coming Soon….************