Favorite ways of cooking tofu

Here’s a set of all my favorite ways to cook tofu. I’m working on getting more photos added.

BBQ tofu po’ boys with creamy coleslaw:

  • 2 15 – 16 ounce packages of firm tofu (I like Bountiful Bean, made in WI)
  • 6 TBLS oil (about)
  • flour
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 6 TBLS soy sauce (I like Kikkoman, also made here in WI)
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large chipotle chile in adobo (or more if you like heat; these also come in cans)
  • 4 TBLS maple syrup
  • 2 TBLS molasses
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • soft French rolls
  • mustard & cole slaw for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Squeeze some of the water out of the tofu, halve the block, and cut the halves into slices – you should get about 12 per block. Dredge the tofu in flour, and heat about 1 -2 TBLS of the oil in a large skillet, and fry the tofu in batches turning once until it is browned on both sides, adding more oil as necessary. Meanwhile, combine 2 TBLS of the oil, the rice vinegar, soy sauce, half the can of tomato sauce, chipotle chile, maple syrup, molasses and cumin in a blender jar, and whir until smooth. Pour enough of this sauce to cover the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish, and transfer the tofu into the dish as it’s fried. When you get all the tofu into the dish, pour in the rest of the sauce from the blender.

After the tofu is fried, wipe out the skillet and add a little more oil, and then fry the onion and peppers until they are softened a bit. Add the thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, chili powder, paprika and salt & pepper to taste. Continue to cook until well blended and a little caramelized, then add the rest of the can of tomato sauce, and mix well, scraping up any good stuff on the bottom of the pan. Pour the contents the skillet over the tofu in the baking dish, cover the baking dish with foil, and bake for about 1 hour, until all the sauce is absorbed and the peppers and onions are well-done.

Toast the buns lightly, spread with mustard if desired, make sandwiches with the tofu and vegetables, and serve with coleslaw.

For the coleslaw, toss 6 cups of shredded cabbage & grated carrot with 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Transfer to a  colander set inside of a large bowl, and let wilt for at least 1 hour and up to three. Lift the cabbage and colander out of the bowl, discard the liquid and rinse and dry the bowl. Put the cabbage back into the bowl and add 1/4 cup mayo, and juice of one lemon (or 3 TBLS rice vinegar) and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Celery seed optional.

Cubed, fried:

This is based a recipe called Caramelized Golden Tofu from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

  • 1 1-lb package firm tofu (I like Simple Soyman; used to be Bountiful Bean – more tofu recipes on their website, too)
  • 2 TBLS peanut oil, or other neutral flavored vegetable oil, like Canola
  • 1 1/2 TBLS brown sugar
  • 2 TBLS soy sauce

Drain the tofu and squeeze out some of the moisture – you can blot it a bit with paper towels if you like. Cut into  1 inch cubes. Heat the oil in the non-stick skillet – or any wide deep skillet that can hold the tofu in a single layer. Add the tofu, and fry for about 10 minutes until it’s getting golden on one side. Flip and fry a little more. Meanwhile, mix the sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl, and our in on with the tofu. Flip and stir the tofu to get the sauce blended in. Continue to cook until the sauce is absorbed – once the sugar has been added it can burn easily, so watch closely.

Great as a topping for, say, peanut noodles.

Summer time peanut noodles with tofu topping in a plastic bowl

Summer time peanut noodles with tofu topping in a plastic bowl

Thai Red Curry:

Thai Red Curry with tofu and spinach

Thai Red Curry with tofu and spinach

  • 1 1-lb package firm tofu (I like Simple Soyman; used to be Bountiful Bean – more tofu recipes on their website, too)
  • 2 TBLS peanut oil, or other neutral flavored vegetable oil, like Canola
  • 1 1/2 TBLS brown sugar
  • 2 TBLS soy sauce
  • 1 TBLS peanut oil, or other neutral flavored vegetable oil, like Canola
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced from pole to pole
  • Vegetables: sweet potato, squash – winter or summer, carrots, potatoes – your choice, about 4 – 6 cups
  • 1 15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk, lite or regular
  • 1 – 3 TBLS Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup veggie broth, meat broth, water – additional coconut milk – whatever you’ve got
  • 1 – 2 TBLS peanut butter
  • half to one pound spinach or other greens – spinach can be raw; longer cooking greens like kale or collards should be blanched.

This is the type of recipe where you’re supposed to mix Thai curry paste – that you’ve either prepared yourself, or, like I did usually do, spoon out of a jar – with canned coconut milk to make the sauce, then add meat or fish or vegetables. I always think the sauce is too thin, and I like to saute the meat or vegetable, rather than simmering, boiling really, in the sauce. Here’s a method for a slightly thicker sauce.

Prepare the tofu cubes as above, and dump them out of the skillet. add another TBLS oil to the skillet, and cook the onion and other vegetables, until getting tender but not mushy, then dump those out, too. Mix the coconut milk, Thai curry paste, and veggie broth in the skillet, bring the mixture to a boil, and then boil down till it’s reduced and thickened. Add the peanut butter and melt it, then add the veggies back to the pan. Stir and cook to get everything coated with the sauce. Then add the greens – spinach, stemmed and cleaned, or other greens blanched, water squeezed out, and shredded. Stir to combine and serve over rice.

Cubed, baked:

This one is based on a Lottie & Doof recipe, Tim got if from David Lebovitz, who evidently got it from someone named Joe.

  • 1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or put through a press, or grated
  • 2 TBLS peeled minced or grated fresh ginger (can use crystallized gnger if you’ve got it)
  • 1 TBLS toasted sesame oil
  • 2 TBLS soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 TBLS rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 TBLS Sriracha or Asian chili paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons corn starch

Drain the tofu, wrap it in a double-thickness of paper towel. Place it on a plate pr cutting board. Put another plate or cutting board on top of the tofu and put soemthing heavy on top – I often use the glass baking dish I’m going to marinate the tofu in. Let stand 30 minutes. I’ve done this first thing in the morning – drain and weight the tofu while making your coffee, go wash and dress and 30 minutes will have passed by easily.

Unwrap the tofu, wipe it dry, and cut it into 1-inch (3cm) cubes. Put the garlic and ginger into a galss baking dish that can hold the tofu in one layer – 13 x 9 x 2 works great – I use a fluted glass dish with a lid. Mix in the sesame oil, soy sauce,  vinegar, and Sriracha. Add the tofu and toss the cubes in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least  2 hours, or overnight – I’ve left it in the fridge as long as two days before cooking.

Pyrex dishes

One of a set of of Pyrex dishes my mother gave me in the ’90s – this is the deep medium size one; there’s a shallower medium one, and a large shallow one. I’ve stopped putting them in the dishwasher on the assumption that maybe they’ll last longer that way – not get brittle and smash

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the corn starch over the tofu pieces, and toss to coat.

Transfer the tofu cubes to the prepared baking sheet and shake it around to get a single layer. Bake until they are crisp and browned, about 30 – 45 minutes.

Fu Balls:

Tofu balls

Tofu balls

From Mollie Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest

1/2 cup raw brown rice
1 cup water
2 TB tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup finely-ground almonds, or other nuts – although walnut might look a little purple
1/2 lb tofu, mashed
1/2 cup wheat germ (omit wheat germ and use more nuts to make this gluten free)

Put the rice in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to a simmer, and cook very until soft – 30 minutes or more.

In a food processor, process half of the tofu with the soy sauce and about 3/4 of the rice until you have a thick paste

Mash the remaining tofu in a large bowl with a fork. Remove the paste from the food processor, and add it to the bowl along with the rest of the rice, the nuts, and the wheat germ. Mix well

Form 1-inch balls with your hands, or a small scoop. Place the balls on a lightly-greased or parchment-lined tray, and bake 30 minutes at 350°, until browned.

Good floated in Italian Wedding Soup, or with a mushroom sauce, or Mollie recommends serving them as an appetizer, on toothpicks, with ketchup.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *