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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Making Tofu

Tofu is very strange to some people but I love the stuff!   I could eat it every day.  The problem is that most people don’t really know how to cook it.   It took me a long time to really figure it out.   There is a technique that must be followed to make it really good.   I used to buy it and try to eat it after opening the tub, draining the water out and briefly sautéing it in with my stir fries or whatever I was cooking.  Yuck!   It tasted like rubber and I couldn’t stand it.   

If I wasn’t brave and ordered it in vegetarian restaurants and got it off the food bar in health food stores I would probably still dislike it.   When I got it there it was delicious and chewy and had an entirely different texture.  The reason mine was so awful was that I didn’t know how to prepare it!  

Let me start this by saying that you should ALWAYS buy organic tofu.   Soybeans are one of the big GMO crops , like corn, and you shouldn’t take a chance with your health buying non-organic tofu.  Now that I have that rant out of the way I will tell you how to prepare it.

The easiest way to do it is to buy the tub of tofu, take it home and put it straight in the freezer.    Wait until it is frozen solid and take it out, put in the refrigerator, and let it thaw.  Give it a couple of days to thaw completely.  I try to keep a rotation going with it so there is always some in the freezer and some in the refrigerator, thawed and ready when I need it.  

Once it has thawed, you need to press it.  Put the whole block of tofu between a bunch of paper towels and put something flat like a baking sheet on top.   Start putting heavy objects on top of the baking sheet, cast iron skillet, canned goods, whatever you have to put some weight on it.   Let it drain for about 30 minutes.

I used this method for a long time but decided that it used too many paper towels, the cans would occasionally fall off and dent my floor, and it was always sitting in the way on my countertop while I was trying to prepare the rest of the meal.   I ordered two TofuXpresses from Amazon and I use those.  They are pretty expensive but I have used them so much that it has been well worth the expense.   I wouldn’t recommend anyone buying them if you don’t eat a lot of tofu or if you are not sure if you like them or not.  Here is what they look like and where to get them:

Once it has drained, cut the tofu into the desired size and prepare it according to your recipe.   My favorite way to make it is to “bread” it with nutritional yeast and bake it.

Baked Tofu

1 block of extra-firm tofu
½ cup nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.

Spray a baking sheet lightly with non-stick spray.

Cut the pressed tofu block in half width-wise, then cut into 9 even blocks like this:

This will yield 18 pieces.

Place the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder , and black pepper into a gallon size ziplock bag and shake it up to mix all the ingredients well.   Add the separated tofu pieces to the bag and shake it up very well to coat all the tofu pieces.  

Place the tofu on the baking sheet – don’t let them pieces touch each other.  Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and turn them over and bake for 20 more minutes.  I LOVE it cooked this way and use it in a lot of different dishes.

 Here is a photo of the baked tofu:

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