As I got older and started perusing the world of culinary creativity, I ran into articles and recipes and blogposts featuring this legendary vegetarian/vegan staple in a variety of interesting ways. Since then, tofu has come into a whole new light for me! Don't get me wrong, ma po tofu and tofu pudding and fried tofu with garlic soysauce and all those other traditional dish will always hold a special place in my heart. But here are some more ways I've spruced up the normal tofu scene.
Okay, so sticking things in the oven does not take a stroke of culinary genius but I've never done this before! It's QUITE popular around the blogosphere and it seems like everyone has some sort of wonder marinade that just makes their hunk of 'fu into the best tofu of all time.
I've experimented a little.
My first marinade/rub consisted of:
- Spoonful of sesame oil
- Spoonful of soy sauce
- Spoonful of rice vinegar
- Little bit of dijon mustard
- Tons of ginger powder
- Sprinkle of garlic powder
- Spoonful(s) of honey
I've also played with adding five spice rub, cumin, and brown sugar. The best combos are those with a heavy dosing of something sweet or spice-y. I was sad that the sesame flavor gets lost in the oven, and the soy sauce becomes the most overpowering ingredient. I'm thinking that fewer ingredients would actually be better! I tend to go a little overboard.
Top half of pan: dijon mustard + honey glaze + some things listed above; bottom half of pan: soy sauce, sesame oil, and a lot of the things listed above
Use firm or extra firm tofu, drain and rinse and let it dry for a bit. I blotted mine with a paper towel - it depends on the texture of tofu you're going for. If you want something akin to chewy tofu jerky, then try to remove more moisture and slice it thinner. If you're going for the crispy on the outside, soft on the inside thing, go for fatter pieces.
Then coat with your marinade of choice, spread out on a baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for about half an hour. I never bake things at a consistent thickness or a set amount of time. I'm like the OCD cook's worst nightmare so...do like I do and experiment!
So the next tofu concoction is a bit more interesting.
TOFU ALFREDO SAUCE!
I've heard rumors that tofu can be made into creamy things and you can forego all the heavy cream and butter. Chocolate mousse, cheesecake, smoothies....
This cream sauce actually turned out pretty well. It gets a little clumpy as it cools but hey, then it's kinda like ricotta cheese. Still good.
- 1 block silken tofu
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- dried oregano + other italian herbs
- 1/2 cup of some sort of milk
Blend tofu with soymilk. You can use more or less soymilk depending on whether you want your sauce thicker or thinner. Pour into large bowl. Mix in nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. You could just throw it all in the blender, but I didn't want to risk having my blender smell of yeast and herbs forever so I separated the processes.
Sautee garlic + onions with a little olive oil, salt, and herbs in a medium saucepan. Pour tofu mixture into sauce pan and heat on medium heat until starts bubbling slightly. Stir constantly to keep it from clumping! Pour over pasta and serve ASAP!
Once it cools/if you refrigerate it, the sauce congeals into a more crumbly tofu mixture, somewhat like ricotta or cottage cheese. It still tastes great and goes well with pasta despite losing the alfredo creaminess.
Simple, healthy, and delicious!
I took the bit of leftover liquid tofu + milk in the blender and added a frozen banana, some frozen strawberries + black berries. Blended tofu makes smoothies thick and creamy and proteinlicious! Yum.
You're pretty cool, tofu. I guess you and I can be friends now.