I feel that I should start off by stating that I used to hate tofu. Even if I ordered a vegetarian meal at a restaurant, I would ask them to omit the tofu. Everything about it turned me off: the texture gave me shivers, the flavor always seemed to be non-existant, and the one time I tried it fried, it just tasted like oil. 'Tofu is gross.' That's what I used to think anyways, until I learned how to cook it - now, tofu is wonderfully amazing!
Okay, so I will admit that my favourite way to eat tofu, is marinated, crusted in coconut & fried in oil - which isn’t exactly the healthiest way to eat it, but it tastes incredible, and is a wonderful introduction to tofu for those Tofu-haters out there. I use a variation of a recipe I got from Well Vegan and serve it with sliced mango and avocado on quinoa.
I quickly learned that there is a trick to making tofu that doesn’t taste bland. Even if you just bake it in the oven, you really should do this one important step first, so your tofu tastes exactly how you want it to. Squeeze out all the water! Tofu comes packaged in water, so before you do anything with it, put your slices of tofu between a few sheets of paper towel, and press out that liquid. Now, when you marinate your tofu in whatever delicious concoction you want it to taste like, it will soak up all of the flavour. Think of your tofu like a soft edible sponge. The more liquid you squish out, the more flavour it soaks up. Just be careful you don’t squeeze too hard or you will break the shape of the tofu and it will be mush.
If you want to try something simple and healthy, and don’t want to go out cookbook shopping right now, try this: Slice your extra-firm tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can between a few sheets of paper towel, then marinate it in some soy sauce with sugar and lime juice (add some sriracha sauce too if you like a little kick). Then after marinating for an hour or so, lay the slices of tofu on a non-stick pan, and bake for about 20 minutes (10 minutes each side). Voila! Simple, baked tofu that actually tastes good.
Another great way to introduce tofu, is as an alternative to yogurt or sour cream, in dip recipes. Use soft (aka silken) tofu, and blend it up till it becomes smooth and the consistency of yogurt, then just use it as a replacement for plain yogurt or sour cream in your favourite recipes. Because tofu is generally flavourless on its own, it is a great, protein packed way to make dips like Tzatsiki or onion dip - just add your seasonings and let it sit for at least an hour in the fridge to soak up all the flavour.
There you have my three favourite ways to use tofu:
Fried, baked, and in dips.
What are your favourite ways to eat tofu? I would love to learn about your favourite marinades too!