How to Make Tofu Taste Good (Part II)

Although tofu is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, many do not like its flavor and texture. SOLUTION: Once you’ve pressed the tofu to remove the excess liquid, you can cut it into slices and pan-fry in a little oil until it’s crisp and golden brown. Then you can use it in a:

Stir-fry
Salad
Braise

In this video, we use pan-fried tofu in a Vegetarian Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Dressing (The flavor is similar to my Spicy Peanut Dressing.). The dish is a delicious meal by itself. Then I use pressed, uncooked tofu, skewer it between red onions, orange or yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, and drizzle it with a vibrant ginger teriyaki sauce. Once grilled it too becomes an excellent, satisfying entrée that will satisfy even the most ardent carnivore.

Tofu Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Dressing

6 Servings

Sichuanese chefs make a spicy toasted sesame dressing for the popular classic, Dan Dan Noodles. Drawing inspiration from this dish, I’ve created a similar sauce using untoasted tahini paste, which is sold in every supermarket. The flavor is lighter, but no less appealing. Make a big batch and refrigerate so you can spontaneously prepare a salad for a quick and healthy meal.

11/2 pounds very firm tofu squares
¾ to 4 ounces cellophane noodles, softened in boiling water for 10 minutes
2 cups shredded or grated carrots
2 tablespoons virgin olive or canola oil
2  English seedless cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
3 stalks scallions, green section only, cut into ½-inch lengths

Spicy Tahini Dressing, mixed together in a bowl:
1 cup Middle Eastern sesame tahini paste
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons rice wine or sake
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3  tablespoons minced garlic
1½  teaspoons hot chili paste, or to taste
10 tablespoons water

1. Cut the tofu through the thickness in half and wrap in paper towels. Put a heavy weight such as a pot on top, and drain, changing the towels once, for about 10 minutes. Cut the pressed tofu into matchstick-sized shreds.
2. Bring a pot with three quarts of water to a boil, add the cellophane noodles and cook for about 1 minute, or until tender. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold, running water. Drain thoroughly.
3.Heat a large, non-stick frying pan, skillet, or a wok, add the olive or canola oil and heat until 375 degrees. Lay the pressed tofu slices in one layer and fry, over medium heat, until golden brown. It may take about 5-6 minutes. Turn over and fry again until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Cut the tofu lengthwise into thin slices.
4. Scoop the seeds out of the cucumber with a spoon, then grate or shred the cucumber using the shredding blade of a food processor. Using your hands, squeeze out the liquid.  thickness in half and wrap in paper towels. Put a heavy weight, such as a pot, on top, and drain while preparing the other ingredients, changing the towels once.
5. Arrange the cellophane noodles in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Arrange the carrots, cucumbers, and bean sprouts in separate circles on top of the noodles, leaving a space in the middle for the fried tofu. Arrange the tofu in the center. Sprinkle the scallion greens on top.
6.Put the ingredients for the Spicy Tahini Dressing in a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and blend thoroughly. Taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Pour a little of the Spicy Tahini Dressing on top of the salad, and serve the remainder in a bowl on the side. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

© Copyright Nina Simonds Simple Asian Meals 2012.

 

ROASTED TERIAKI VEGETABLES SKEWERS
4 to 6 servings

1 pound very firm tofu, cut across the length into 1-inch slabs   .
Teriaki  Marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup rice wine or sake
7 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed dried chili flakes
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

1 medium red onion, outer skin removed
2 red or orange bell peppers                                                                          
½ pound cremini mushrooms
9 ten-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water to cover for 10 minutes

1. Wrap the slabs of tofu in paper towels and set a heavy weight, such as a heavy skillet on top and let stand 15 minutes to remove excess water. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
2. While the tofu is sitting, mix together all the ingredients of the Teriaki marinade  in a heavy, medium-size saucepan and heat until thickened, stirring constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps. Remove and cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
3. Remove the outer skin of the onion, cut in half, and then cut each half into half again. Separate the pieces. Remove the core and seeds from the pepper and cut into 1-inch squares.  Trim the stems of the crimini mushrooms.
4. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Alternately thread the skewers with the tofu, onion pieces, peppers, and onions, starting and ending with the onions. Arrange the skewered vegetable and tofu on the cookie sheet and pour the teriyaki sauce on top. Let he vegetables and tofu sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Bake the tofu and vegetables for 20 minutes, turning once so that they evenly cook. Remove and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the warm teriaki sauce on top and serve with rice or another whole grain.

© Copyright Nina Simonds Simple Asian Meals 2012.

How to Make Tofu Taste Good (Part I)

We all know that tofu has MANY health-giving benefits. Did you know:
· Regular consumption of tofu can help lower cholesterol.
· Tofu is an excellent source of vegetable protein and iron.
· Tofu is also a great source of calcium and is often enriched with more calcium so it can help counteract bone loss.
· Tofu, a soy product, contains phytoestrogens which help alleviate menopausal symptoms.

The big problem that many grapple with is how to make it taste good. The flavor is bland, and the texture is mushy. What to do?? I share ALL my secrets in this video!

Fortunately, tofu will acquire of the taste of the ingredients it’s cooked with. (As you see in the video, if you first press the tofu to remove excess water, it will absorb even more flavor.) Marinate it in a pungent, garlicky hoisin marinade OR a fragrant 5-spice sauce rub. Both mixtures are really easy to prepare and once baked, grilled, or pan-fried, the tofu becomes delicious and meaty. You can then substitute it for any meat or seafood in a stir-fry or serve it plain with cooked vegetables and grains If you go to the recipe section of the website, there’s an easy meal-in-one Hoisin-Drenched Tofu with Stir-Fried Vegetables that’s excellent with a whole grain for delicious, healthy meal. It tastes great reheated too.

Enjoy!

Hoisin-Drenched Tofu with Stir-Fried Vegetables

Hoisin-Drenched Tofu with  Stir-Fried Vegetables
6 Servings

1 recipe Hoisin Baked Tofu with reserved sauce (See Hoisin Marinade recipe)
1 ½ tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 tablespoons minced scallion, white section only
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoons hot chili paste, or to taste
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin julienne strips
1 large yellow or orange pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne strips
½ pound snow peas, ends snapped and veiny string removed
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 cups scallion greens, cut into ½-inch length

1. Prepare the Hoisin Tofu as directed in the Hoisin Marinade recipe.
Prepare the other ingredients and arrange near the stove.
2. Heat a large wok or a deep, heavy skillet until very hot over high heat.
Pour in the oil and heat until hot, about 30 seconds. Add the white
sections of scallion, garlic, and chili paste, and stir-fry until fragrant,
about 15 seconds.  Scatter in the bell peppers and toss lightly for a minute.
Toss in the snow peas and rice wine and continue cooking, tossing lightly over high heat until the snow peas are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes  (if you need longer, cover briefly and cook until tender). Pour in the sauce and scallion greens and toss lightly to cook. Fold in the tofu slices and carefully stir to mix evenly and heat through. Scoop the stir-fry onto a warm serving platter and serve with steamed jasmine or Basmati rice.

Photo: http://holajalapeno.blogspot.com/2010/05/hoisin-tofu-and-sugar-snap-peas-recipe.html

 

HOISIN MARINADE

For 2 pounds  firm or extra-firm tofu that has been sliced through the length in half, wrapped in paper towels and pressed under a heavy pot for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

1 cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup  soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice wine or sake
¼ cups ketchup
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons water

Mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl .
Let marinate 1 hour or overnight if possible, in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the marinated tofu on
a cookie sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil. Pour the
marinade on top and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven
and cool slightly. Cut into pieces  slices that are ½ inch thick.
Use as directed in the stir-fry recipe below or in other recipes as desired.

 

FIVE-SPICE  MARINADE

For 2 pounds firm or extra-firm tofu that has been sliced through the length in half, wrapped in paper towels and pressed under a heavy pot for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon dried crushed chili peppers (optional)
½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon five-spice powder (available in your supermarket spice section)

Mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and
let marinate for 1 hour or overnight if possible. Preheat the oven to
350 degrees. Arrange the marinated tofu on a cookie
sheets that has been lined with aluminum foil. Pour the marinade
on top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Cut into pieces that are ½ inch thick, 2 inches long, and 1 inch wide. Use in stir-fried dishes.

 

 

 

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Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.

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