Friday, February 15, 2013

Food Adventure: Tofu

As mentioned HERE, this month's Monthly Challenge is to attempt four new non-animal based protein options. 

February Food Adventure #1: Tofu

My sister is a Pescaterian.  Ok, she is when she wants to be.  But either way, I looked to her first when I decided to take on this challenge.  She immediately steered me to Tofu.

From what I had heard, tofu's texture is a big reason a lot of people don't like it.  My sister insisted that I get the firmest tofu available.  I didn't even know it came in levels of... firmness.  Weird.

I picked up a pack of Nature's Promise Extra Firm organic tofu and went to town!

I opened the container, drained out the water and was surprised to see that tofu is just a square block of...  well, mush!  I was expecting neatly cut cubes to toss in a stove top or oven pan.  Nope.  Take one point away for overall presentation.  Thankfully, I had to open it to figure this fact out.  I couldn't turn back now.

My sister informed me that the key to making tofu is the sauce you use.  "Tofu will soak up whatever flavor you surround it with.  Otherwise, it's a completely blah taste."  Good to know.  I also looked at some recipes online.  They all preceded the flavoring with pressing out any "juices" that the tofu had soaked up from the packaging.  That made sense.

In order to soak up a sauce, you had to empty the 'sponge.'  So I placed it between plates and let Mott's have at it.  Most recipes said to do this for 30 minutes to multiple hours or over night.  I let it sit for maybe 15 minutes while I started my fried rice.  That's right, fried rice!

Once the fried rice was all mixed up and getting close to ready, I cut up the tofu and tossed it in a pan on a low heat.  Then I poured soy sauce in the pan and kept turning the tofu over hoping it would soak up the sauce. 

The tofu cooked for maybe 10-15 minutes on a low heat and the sauce was soaked up as well as cooked off.  At the end, the sides of the tofu began to get a little charred, which later on I discovered helped the texture and flavor. 

I didn't get a picture of the final product.  It might be because it was too tasty.  My attention was too drawn to eating.  Haha.  But trust me when I say it was good.

Tofu = Success!

I repeated the meal again a couple nights later and ran out of soy sauce.  However, even with maybe 25% of the flavor, the tofu turned out ok.  I am not deterred by the texture at all.  I'm going to attempt soaking it in chicken stock today to add to my Ceaser Salad.  We'll see how that goes.


1.  Do you eat plant-based protein?  Have you tried tofu?  What are your thoughts?
I can understand people disliking the texture, but the ability to flavor it any way you like is great!  I will certainly be making use of Tofu in the future.

2.  What's the last food experiment you did?  Do you try new foods or stick to the standbys?
I generally stick to my standbys, which is why I added this challenge.  I need new options for food and a push to get out of that comfort zone. 

3.  What other non-animal based protein options are there?
I've picked up Tempeh already and am looking four Quinoa this week.  Any others?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 


Running Ginger said...

I've had a few experiences with tofu, and I don't mind it. Then again, is it something I would go out of my way to have? Probably not; I would just stick with lean beef, chicken or turkey. However, I have had success using tofu noodles as a healthier alternative to pasta. The key to this is having a powerful sauce to cover up the actual taste of the noodles.

Amanda said...

your recipies are seem to be yummi. i think you should continue with your awesome work. Dhow cruise Dubai

Gashsam said...

Hey Kurt, I like Tofu, but I love Quinoa. Quick recipe from my husband (the chef in the family) Cook your quinoa just like your brown rice. But cook it in Chicken stock, let cool, add to this cranberies, toasted pine nuts, chopped almonds, shaved corn on the cob (so you have chuncks of kurnells),small diced celery and any other treats. Toss and use as a salal accompaniment. Save some though for tomorrow nights dinner.. then on a piece of toasted sour dough spread some Almond paste, top with the (warmed this time)quinoa salad, poached egg on top of that, grilled asaparagus, tomatoes and mushroom cracked pepper. This last meal is amazing not vegan though but it is our quick go to standby that just is amazing. Enjoy. p.s do not salt your quinoa, it soaks up salt like crazy.