We’ve all seen those jokes on social media, the photo of a plain block of tofu and the caption “how to prepare tofu, step 1: throw it in the trash; step 2, fry some steak”. Well, the joke’s on you, my dear tofu joker, because tofu is such a versatile ingredient and it can be used for amazing meals.
The thing about tofu is that it easily absorbs flavors. So often have I heard the comment “but tofu is tasteless”. Well, if it has no flavor, then prepare it like you prepare most meals. Meat for bacon does not taste like bacon unless the needed spices, herbs, and marinades are added. Curried rice with coconut will not taste like much if you don’t add curry and coconut, right? It’s the same thing with tofu. Add the spices and herbs, my dear. 🙂
What Can You Make With Tofu?
Where shall I begin? You can use them for kebabs, curries, soups, anything really. I am going to list some ways I have prepared tofu, and then I will share some other ideas (which I haven’t tried yet, but will soon 😉 ) with you.
My Tofu List
- marinades with eggplant and tofu
- barbecue flavored tofu
- spinach with spicy tofu
- veggie-tofu kebabs
- tofu burger with gravy
- Italian sausage flavored tofu
And there surely are many other ways in which I prepared it over the last years, but these are the ones I can remember. Moreover, I will include one recipe in this post, i.e. the last one: Italian sausage flavored tofu. While I still have not figured out how to use tofu to make sausages, I came up with the idea to prepare it with a sausage flavor. How about that? If you’re curious and you’d like to see the recipe, then please scroll down to the bottom of this page.
But wait! Not yet. I am not done with my list, and there is still some information I would like to share with you. Let’s make this an eye-tofuning experience 😉
What else can this wonderful, white block be used for? Let’s see.
- curried tofu salad
- crispy tofu in garlic sauce
- maple Dijon tofu burger
- Thai red coconut curry tofu
Getting hungry yet? I could add a lot more to this list, but I don’t want you racing to the grocery store yet to stock up on tofu blocks 😉 Let’s stick with me a little longer. Wow, who would have thought that tofu could be such an interesting subject? 😉
What Exactly is Tofu?
It is made from soybeans. It’s also called bean curd, because soy milk is coagulated first, (which means: curdling soy milk) After that, the curds that come from that are pressed into the shapes of white tofu blocks. The softness can vary from silken, soft, medium, firm, to extra firm. I don’t buy tofu all the time, but when I do I always get the extra firm or firm one. The soft tofu can be used for desserts and smoothies.
Did you know that it has been consumed in China for over 2000 years? And did you know that East Asian and South-East Asian cuisines also include tofu in many meals?
How do You Make Italian Sausage Flavored Tofu?
It’s surprisingly easy and it doesn’t need much time.
- 1 block of extra firm tofu (it’s very important that it is extra-firm)
- 1/4 chopped red onion
- 4 cloves of garlic (I love garlic, but you can use less or more, depending on your preferences)
- 4 – 5 table spoons of olive oil
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tea spoon of paprika
- 1/3 tea spoon of ground black pepper
- 1/3 tea spoon of cumin
- 10 – 12 table spoons of soy sauce
- 2 table spoons of red wine
- Before you start, proceed as follows with the tofu
- remove tofu from package
- drain all excess fluids
- place the tofu on a saucer
- cover it with a cutting board or a plate or anything that can be used to cover it.
- Then add some weight to it – add more plates on top, books work fine too. The main thing is that the tofu needs to be pressed to drain all the fluids. This is very important.
- Leave for 30 minutes. Then remove the tofu.
- Pour the olive oil into a frying pan and add salt
- When the oil is heated, add the chopped onion, and fry on medium heat for 2 minutes
- While the onion is frying, cut the garlic into small pieces and add it to the frying pan.
- Fry for one more minute
- Crumble the tofu (make sure that the pieces are not too small) and add it to the onions and garlic
- While the tofu, onion, and garlic fry on low heat, prepare your sauce
- In a small bowl, pour in the soy sauce and 2 tea spoons of red wine
- Add paprika, pepper, and cumin
- Mix well
- Add the sauce to the pan and stir, making sure that the sauce covers all the tofu pieces and is absorbed well
- Fry for 10-11 minutes (or until the tofu mixture has completely absorbed the sauce)
Ready! You can eat this with a cucumber salad or on a piece of toast, or with some bread. You can prepare other side dishes too, such as boiled potatoes or a garden salad, whatever you like. I shredded some salad leaves and laid them on a piece of bread, topped it off with sliced tomatoes, and then I added my Italian sausage flavor tofu.
And, oh my, you know, it always surprises me how incredibly delicious my improvisations turn out to be. I truly outdid myself. It was so good that – after my little snack – I kept on sneaking more tofu from the pan. When I attempted to put the rest in a Tupperware dish to take it to work the next day, I ended up with very little for my box lunch. The fork more often found its way to my mouth than to my Tupperware.
So, when you make this, good luck trying to keep some leftovers for the next day. That didn’t work out so well for me 😉 It was so good! Now, I’m going to eat whatever I managed to salvage yesterday. I’m really looking forward to it, having that incredible flavor in my mouth again.
I hope you found this post useful, and please share any recipes that you may have too. The recipe I posted here can be adapted. If you don’t like Italian sausage flavor, but you absolutely love curry, then use curry instead of paprika. Sesame seed oil also works as a tasty addition to soy sauce, you can mix them together.
Cooking is an art, and creativity often times leads to amazing results. So, go and get that tofu block, it’s not as boring as it seems. Now you know what to do with it. 🙂