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What to do With Tofu? You’d be Surprised! (recipe included)

TofuWe’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. πŸ™‚

mapo-tofu

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 πŸ˜‰ ) with you.

My Tofu List

  • curries
  • marinades with eggplant and tofu
  • barbecue flavored tofu
  • spinach with spicy tofu
  • veggie-tofu kebabs
  • tofu burger with gravy
  • stir-fries
  • Italian sausage flavored tofu

tofu-kebab

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰ Let’s stick with me a little longer. Wow, who would have thought that tofu could be such an interesting subject? πŸ˜‰

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.

Wow

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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)

tofu

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.

Italian-sausage-flavor-tofu

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 πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ™‚

Spread the love

Christine

18 Comments

  1. I have to say, you definitely changed my mind about tofu! My mom uses it all the time and she says the same thing, that it holds so much flavor, so it makes sense that you can add it to almost anything. Thanks for the info. and the great recipe ideas. Kudos to you!

  2. This is wonderful, Christine. I have been a vegetarian for 11 years and I’m always looking for new recipes and the yummiest way to cook tofu!

  3. Thank you for the recipe but more so for all the advice.
    I was diagnosed with heart problems, and I have been trying to cut back on the meat. It is not an easy task when you are cooking for three other carnivores as well.

    I thought about cooking with tofu since a few years ago, I made turkey and tofu meatballs. They were so good. But I did not know how to flavor the tofu without using meat. Your advice has given me so many ideas.

    I think I am going to try this recipe this week. Thanks again!

    • Hi Dovey, I’m sorry to hear that.
      There are many tofu recipes. Let me know if you would like some more info. And there are also other meat substitutes available that taste just like meat.

  4. Hi, Christine, I love the ingredients here except the chopped onions (my one friend laughs because when we go out to eat I always order the same thing but always tell them to get rid of the onions). I tend to like meat-like foods that are made vegan style, so it’s definitely worth my while to give this a try. Something fresh and new, so it’d be great to indulge in.

  5. It’s pretty amazing the number of things that we can make with tofu. My wife makes curried tofu quite often. We also learned how to make miso soup, so that makes an appearance as well.

    I’m kinda mixed with regards to eating tofu. There’s always different studies coming out to think tofu is good to lead or is considered not good to eat.

    Since my wife’s family is vegetarian, they have been eating tofu for a long time. So I imagine they’re pretty healthy people so it must be safe.

    • Hi Eric,
      Yes, there are several studies with different findings about tofu. I don’t eat tofu all the time, but it is used in some East Asian cuisines, which is much healthier than the western diet. Have you ever seen “The China Study”?

  6. Wow, I can’t believe it’s not hard to make a delicious Italian sausage flavored tofu! I’ll bookmark your post and cook it for my family this weekend.
    I’m living in East Asia, there are many tofu cuisine, have you ever tried Stinky Tofu, a famous street snack in Taiwan?

    • I would love to try stinky tofu! I’ve never heard of it. I am going to find out what it is 😊
      Thanks for stopping by 😊

  7. Incredible, this was such a delight to read. You made it so interactive I felt like I could taste the flavour of the Italian sausage flavoured tofu recipe detailed. I will definitely get my hands on some tofu and let my creativity flow. Thank you for such an informative article.

  8. Yes, I agree tofu can absorb any flavor. I’ve been vegan for many years so I’m always looking for new recipes to try. I’ll give this one a try and make some tacos with it. It never occurred to me to add paprika to tofu, so I’m sure it will give it a nice smoky flavor. Thanks for the recipe. Have a great day!

  9. Cool! I must admit I’m not a tofu girl but I didn’t really try so I cannot say I’m not ahah! The ideas you propose look really tasty, I should try them out someday. I was wondering, what does the tofu give us? I mean, is it protein, carbohydrate…? Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

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