A taste for tofu

13 Feb

Though tofu is much less maligned than it was when I first developed an interest in diversifying my protein sources over ten years ago, I still meet people with a real hate-on for my beloved bean curd. The thing is, tofu doesn’t have much flavour at all; it’s more about giving tofu a taste you enjoy than it is about developing a taste for tofu. Tofu haters don’t last long in the face of the delicious dish I’m about to introduce you to.

If you’re shaking your head in dismay and thinking “the texture is the problem”, rest assured: fresh tofu is available in a variety of textures. The most common are soft/silken tofu, which is usually sold in boxes, and firm/cotton tofu, which is usually sold vaccuum-packed (in larger grocery stores) or stored in buckets of water (in smaller/specialty stores). The latter can more easily be eaten with chopsticks and doesn’t jiggle like the former.

Vacuum-packed, cotton-style tofu

Vacuum-packed, cotton-style tofu

It’s the kind of tofu involved in this recipe, and I encourage you to try it out and see what you think. It just may change your mind about tofu forever (you’re welcome).

Faced with this?

Cubed tofu

Cubed tofu

Gather the following 4 ingredients for a marinade…

Marinade ingredients

Marinade ingredients (aka Why I'm a Librarian and Not a Food Stylist)

and transform it into this (see recipe below):

Cooked tofu

Ginger-garlic tofu

The best thing about this tofu dish is its versatility. You can add it to spinach salad for some extra flavour and protein. You can toss it in a stir fry. You can pile on some corn kernels…

Tofu with corn kernels

and a generous helping of mashed potatoes…

Tofu, corn, mashed potatoes

then stick the baking dish back in the oven on broil for a few minutes and have a delicious non-shepherd’s pie.

Non-shepherd's pie

Non-shepherd's pie

Serve with salad for a complete meal!

Eat your greens at every meal

Complete meal

That’s cranberry juice, btw.

You can also serve this tofu straight-up in lieu of the meat in a meat-and-potatoes dinner (move over, tofurkey). ‘Cause eating well is all about options. Without further ado…

Ginger-Garlic Tofu

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 block firm/cotton tofu, cubed

Method:
1) Mix all ingredients except tofu in a baking dish
2) Add the cubed tofu to the marinade and mix to coat evenly
3) Let sit for 15 minutes
4) Cook on 350F-400F for 10-15 minutes, until tofu is browned

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6 Responses to “A taste for tofu”

  1. Megan February 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Ah, tofu. So very near and dear to my heart. Thanks, Laura! This post got me all excited. The recipe looks fabulous.

    I would argue that the idea that tofu lacks flavour is a myth. The unappreciative taster, instead, is the one who lacks refinement and recognition of subtlety. But then, I’m spoiled. I’ve eaten tofu in Japan.

    Here’s a shameless link to a post I wrote about tofu, my most favourite of foods: http://chezyusuke.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/tofu/ (amongst many others on my blog).

    One of the most memorable experiences of my life has been eating a tofu feast at Junsei in Kyoto: http://www.to-fu.co.jp/en/index.html. A few sample pictures appear here: https://picasaweb.google.com/megan.fitzgibbons/JapanFood2010?authkey=Gv1sRgCNib2cO1t4iBcQ#

    Good choice with the Soyarie: that’s our favourite firm tofu in Montreal. Denver tofu (for those who happen to live in that part of the world) is also really tasty.

    The closest that we used to get for Japanese silken tofu was President’s Choice brand at Provigo, but they stopped carrying it at the store near us. Booooo! Very sad and depressing.

  2. Megan February 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    P.S. Junsei has an interesting video of the tofu-making process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZJ6jbIhO1I

    • Laura February 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

      I will readily admit to a lack of refinement if it prompts a corrective dinner invitation. Edamame tofu – yes, please!

  3. Megan February 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Indeed, please feel free to tag along for our next trip to Japan!

  4. ericascime February 15, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    I am ALWAYS looking for new ways to marinade my tofu. This one sound delicious. And the non-shepherd’s pie look so easy and so yummy! Thanks!

  5. Anthony February 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    mm, I love tofu!!! It’s a little bit weird because no matter how do you cook, tofu is always delicious for me…
    Wanna share with you the recipe on how to make tofu:
    http://www.fourgreensteps.com/community/recipes/54/1857
    Try to make your own tofu at home! It’s a lot of fun!

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