By Nicole Falkenburry
Ever since my first experience with tofu at my all time favorite Thai restaurant, I have been in love with the meat substitute. Like many, I was skeptical of the sponge-like bean curd. However, I decided I would give it a go since I refused to eat any of the meat options available.
A step-by-step guide to frying tofu is available on tastehongkong.com. They encourage you to salt the tofu on both sides in order to both pull the water and firm the tofu further. Lightly dry the tofu with a paper towel. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into the pan and let heat. Once hot enough, lower the heat and set the tofu into the pan. It should take about two minutes for one side to turn golden. Flip and wait for the other side to turn golden brown as well. (Source: http://www.tastehongkong.com/recipes/how-to-pan-fry-tofu-with-crust-is-simple/)
Vegetarian About has some great tips on how to grill tofu. From the best types of marinades to use to spearing the tofu with skewers, About has you covered on what to do. As most others suggest, About agrees that it is best to use Extra Firm Tofu. Start off by pressing the tofu. An extra step that this site encourages you to do is to actually freeze the tofu. Once it is frozen and then thawed, it should absorb the flavor of the marinade even better. They suggest to marinade the tofu for at the very least 30 minutes, but overnight is even better. Use a sauce that has sugar in it to give the tofu a crispier crust. Be sure to pierce the tofu with skewers and spray your grill with non-stick cooking spray or oil. This will lessen the likelihood of the tofu sticking to the grill. Cook the tofu for about 6-7 minutes on each side and serve! (source: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianbarbecuerecipes/qt/grillingtofu.htm)
One Ingredient Chef gives us a new step in how to cook tofu. He suggests to soak the tofu in warm salt water for 10-15 minutes, which is supposed to allow it to cook better. After that step, as always, it is time to press the tofu. Using a stainless steel or cast-iron skillet will be the best to withstand the high temperatures necessary to sauté tofu. Using a tablespoon of oil will do the trick. After the pan has been heated, place the tofu in and leave for about 4-5 minutes to get the golden brown desired for tofu. Repeat on the other side. One Ingredient Chef also gives you three recipes for sauces to season the tofu afterwards. (source: http://www.oneingredientchef.com/how-to-cook-tofu/)
The final option for how to prepare tofu is accessible on Recipes: How Stuff Works. Start off by sautéing the vegetables you would like in the stew (this recipe uses onions). Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add whatever flavors/starches you would like in the stew and cook for another 10 minutes. Throw in the tofu (that has been pressed) and continue stewing. Cover the pot to assure the flavors are locked in and the tofu absorbs the most possible. This is the perfect option if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare a meal. Throw it in a crock pot and let it stew while you are at work!
Hopefully this inspired you to go out and buy some extra firm tofu to cook up and enjoy a high protein, low fat meal!