Health and wellness is on the rise. More and more people are able to practice all kinds of diets because of the availability of interesting food options. No matter the diet followed, chances are high that you have at least considered trying tofu. This foodstuff is one of the staples in vegan diets and many Asian cultures, which is basically a curd made from mashed soybeans. Preparing tofu might seem intimidating, but the following should help guide you just a bit.
Different Ways of Cooking Tofu
Tofu is quite versatile, but it does need to be prepared correctly to ensure the kind of taste you would expect. The following are some of the most basic ways to get your tofu ready for cooking:
Those who have tasted tofu know that it can taste pretty bland. This is mostly because it was not prepared to absorb flavor, which must be done before cooking. Most tofu comes in blocks full of water, which is obvious, and most people drain the box that it came in, but that is merely the first step.
Tofu contains a lot of water, which is why it is harder to absorb flavors or seasonings. What you want to do is slice the block into a few slices, and place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
Keep it down to a single-layer, which you are going to cover with an additional paper towel. Place something heavy over the tofu like a cast iron skillet, and put it away in your refrigerator for about two hours. You can also let it drain for eight hours, which is preferred. You are now ready to fully season the tofu or marinate it, whatever you want.
Marinating the Tofu
Once the tofu is drained, it is easy to marinate, but there is one little thing that many first-timers do that is a mistake when marinating. The issue is the marinade is oil-based, and you do not want that. No matter how much the tofu is drained, there is still going to be a little water left over. Using oil to cook tofu is not good since water and oil do not mix. Stick to vinegar or soy-based options to make sure your cooking goes well.
An important step that many cooks make when handling tofu is expecting it to get crispy with heat alone. Getting tofu crispy is desirable for obvious reason, but this is a whole different texture, and it won’t have this effect no matter what you do. There is a trick that you can use to make your tofu crispy, but it does have to be drained before you try it. What you want to do is toss your marinated or drained tofu slices in a little cornstarch. Make sure it is lightly coated before you start to cook the slices, and you are done.
It should be noted that tofu needs to be seared rather than just sautéed. This means that you should only place the tofu over a hot pan with hot oil. It also means that the oil used needs to be able to withstand the heat, so oils like sesame oil or lard are recommended.
Making Tofu and Okara
There is no doubt that tofu is becoming pretty popular in the states, which is urging some people to consider making tofu and other soybean products at home since they are so easy to make.
Take okara, which is basically just foodstuff that is left over after draining the milk out of soybeans when you are making soybean milk at home. Okara is pretty healthy and goes well with many foods, including baked foods.
Those who want to make tofu at home need to have soy milk at hand. The following are the steps you need to take to make your homemade tofu:
- Boil two quarts of soy milk
- Let it cool down to 160 degrees
- Dissolve one teaspoon of Nigari flakes in one cup of warm water
- Blend both the water and the hot soy milk without mixing too much
- Let the mix sit for 25 minutes
- Curds should appear
- Transfer curds into a molding container lined with a cheesecloth
- Fold the cloth over the blend
- Place something heavy over the cloth for 30 minutes
- Tofu is done
Those who plan to eat the tofu that day do not need to do anything else, but those who plan to consume it another day must place the block in a container full of cold water. This water has to be changed every day until you use it. As you can see, it is not too hard to make tofu at home and enjoy the fruits of your labor.