Whether you’re just giving meat-free Mondays a go or have been a vegetarian for years, tofu can leave many home cooks tearing their hair out. Silken or soft, firm or extra firm, there’s a huge variety of tofu – also known as bean curd – options and dishes out there, and it can be a lot to take in. But don’t worry, Express.co.uk has a simple guide on how to cook tofu.
What’s the difference between tofu types?
Soft and silken tofu is ready to eat right out of the package.
Silken tofu has the highest water content and looks a bit like mozzarella or burrata. Due to this consistency, it’s often used as a thick cream, cream cheese or ricotta filling.
Soft tore is primarily used in Asian dishes, as it can soak up sauces and broths so is great in ramen or noodle soup. Don’t pan fry soft tofu though, as it will likely crumble.
Firm tofu is often the most widely available. It can be pan-fried, stir-fried, deep-fried or baked.
Extra firm is, obviously, firmer again in texture and can be used in the same way as above. However, be aware extra form tofu doesn’t absorb marinades as well.
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How to cook tofu
One of the most simple ways to cook tofu is frying it.
Grab yourself a block of firm or extra-firm tofu and chop into small chunks.
All tofu has a high water content, so it’s wise to drain off excess water. Patting gently with a kitchen roll can also help soak up that moisture.
Once cubed, add your tofu to a mixing bowl and season with salt and upper, plus spice of your choice, depending on what you’re adding the tofu to (ie curry powder for a curry dish, or chillis for a spicy stir fry).
then stated over oil for about five minutes or until browned on all sides.
Then finish by baking in an oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy and golden in colour.
But there’s a whole host of yummy recipes you can try. Express.co.uk bring you three recipes below to test out this National Vegetarian Week.
Vegan Sweet & Sour Tofu
- 250g tofu, drained and pressed well for 20-30 mins. Following the instruction on pack, changing the kitchen roll a number of time, as it absorbs the water.
- 2 tbsp of oil
- 1 large red pepper, (you could also and 1 carrot and some green beans diced and sliced)
- 3 spring onions, sliced
- 432g tin of pineapple chunks, drained
- 3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp cider vinegar
- 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 8 fl oz vegetable stock or water
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- salt and pepper to season
- Pre-heat the oil and fry the tofu on all sides until golden brown, then remove from the pan.
- Stir fry the pepper (carrots and beans optional) with the onions for 2-3 minutes then add pineapple, sugar, vinegar,
ketchup and stock, then bring to the boil.
- Dissolve the cornflour in a little water and add to the pan, stir until thickened. Add more stock if necessary.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, return the tofu to the pan.
- Serve with noodles or rice.
- For a spicier dish add some finely diced red chilli.
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Tofu chocolate mousse
It may sound weird, but silken tofu can make an extra secret ingredient in desserts. Why not give this totally vegan and very simple recipe a try?
- dark chocolate 150g, broken into pieces
- silken tofu 300g, drained
- caster sugar ½ tbsp
- raspberries, blueberries and strawberries – to decorate
- Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water.
- Add the tofu sugar into a blender and pour in the melted chocolate. Blend until completely smooth.
- Spoon the mousse into small glasses, scattering a few raspberries, blueberries and strawberries on top.
- Chill for at least two hours, until set.
- Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before eating.
Vegan Tofu Thai Green Curry
Try this delicious, fragrant and creamy Thai green curry with pieces of tofu and crispy vegetables from veggie producer Cauldron. Thai green curry is a very popular dish and the organic tofu brings a unique, light taste to this dish packed full of flavour.
- Cauldron Organic Tofu 396g
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 125g green beans, trimmed
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp green Thai curry paste
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 × 400ml coconut milk
- 125g baby corn
- ½ courgette, cut into thin slices
- 1 red pepper, trimmed and cut into thin strips
- 125g pak choi
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander, plus extra for garnish
- 2 spring onions, trimmed and cut into thin slices
- Drain the tofu, wrap in kitchen paper to remove excess water for 20 minutes, cut into 1 cm pieces and place in the soy sauce to marinate.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the green beans and asparagus tips for a minute, drain and refresh in cold water.
- Heat the oil in a wok, add the green Thai curry paste and cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently.
- Add the tofu, stir lightly until coated with the curry paste then cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the shallots, chilli and garlic and carry on cooking for another 2 minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk, bring to a simmer, then add the baby corn, courgette, red pepper, green beans and asparagus. Cook over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes then add pak choi. Simmer once again for a minute then lastly tip in the fresh lime juice and chopped coriander.
- Serve sprinkled with a small amount of chopped coriander and spring onions accompanied with Thai jasmine rice.
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